A piezoresistive tactile sensor for tissue characterization during catheter-based cardiac surgery

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Abstract

Background

Currently, most of mitral valve annuloplasty surgeries are performed by using open heart surgery. However, if such operation would be performed by using minimally invasive surgery via catheter-based techniques (CBT), it offers various advantages for both surgeons and patients.

Methods

Two piezoresistive force sensors are used in the structure of the tactile sensor, which can easily be miniaturized and integrated into surgical catheters. The tactile sensor was fabricated and tested to characterize different elastomers, as the phantom of cardiac tissues. Based on a developed finite element analysis (FEA) of the elastomers, the interaction between the sensor and those materials were modelled to validate the output of the sensor.

Results

The results of the mechanical and psychophysical tests confirm the capability of the proposed sensor to measure the relative hardness/softness of different soft tissues.

Conclusions

The proposed tactile sensor will help surgeons to characterize different types of cardiac tissues and would facilitate the use of CBT to perform mitral valve annuloplasty. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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