Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


CEIT-IK4 designs a tool for operations on people with severe or profound auditory loss

A team of engineers from the CEIT-IK4 technological centre and doctors from the University Hospital of Navarra have designed a new tool for operating on the inner ear with maximum precision, reducing the possibility of damage to the auditory function during the surgery.

This is the first micromanipulator specifically for operations involving cochlear and middle ear implants, of which about a hundred are carried out in this hospital annually. Taking part in developing the new tool were four engineers from CEIT and five ear, nose and throat specialists from the University Hospital of Navarra.

The new technique was presented at the XI International Symposium on Cochlear Implants, organised by the Department of otorhinolaryngology (ENT) at the University Hospital of Navarra, attended by 200 specialists from all over the world.

The micromanipulator, patented by the University of Navarra, is a surgical working tool the aim of which is to aid the surgeon in those situations involving very small dimensions and which are highly sensitive – such as the inner ear, the size of which is less than the nail of a forefinger. Working with precision in such a small space and with such a delicate structure is highly complicated.

The micromanipulator enables operating with precision in spaces of these small dimensions, working in tandem with auditory surgical microinstruments. In short, the micromanipulator is a tool for working with the inner ear in a precision manner, without affecting its function.

This micromanipulator has two parts. One of these is anchored to the temporal bone of the patient, its function being to act as support for a series of elements which go together with the milling tool. The surgeon makes a hole in the temporal bone with this tool, in order to gain access to the inner ear. In the centre of this second series of elements is a small metallic part the behaviour of which is flexible and this device provides the surgeon with greater control and precision on milling, making up for the vibrations of the hand itself.
New phase in inner ear surgery
The design of the micromanipulator is the beginning of a new era in inner ear surgery and a new line of research. To date, the inner ear has meant a barrier for the surgeon, as has happened in other stages of medical history – when, for example, the heart was considered an untouchable organ as it was thought that death would ensue. The same occurred with the inner ear – it could not be accesses because it was thought that its functioning would be damaged. In recent years, however, especially with cochlear implants, they have learnt how to gain access to the inner ear without these operations necessarily causing damage.
Amongst the main advantages of the micromanipulator is its enhanced precision in working, as it enables operating on the inner ear in a more exact manner, opening up a series of possibilities depending on techniques already developed for the treatment of illnesses that can affect this zone of the auditory system.

This is why the applications of the micromanipulator are currently focused on cochlear implants and auditory implants of the middle ear. But, in the future, the technique could be used for introducing stem cells in order to regenerate the inner ear and secrete certain pharmaceutical drugs that provide the possibility of curing diseases that may arise in the zone.

Joint working between University Hospital of Navarra and CEIT
The development of the micromanipulator is the first joint venture between ear, nose and throat specialists at the University Hospital and researchers at CEIT, the first in a series with which they wish to continue. The medics set out their requirements and the engineers then seek and devise solutions and tools that enable the former to resolve their problems. For the engineers the start of this venture was curious because they had to learn the anatomy and physiology of the ear in order to know the terrain in which they were moving so as to develop these instruments.

As regards extending the use of this surgical tool to other medical centres, the specialists confirmed that it is currently being validated at other European hospitals.

Oihane Lakar | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Münster researchers make a fly’s heartbeat visible / Software automatically recognizes pulse
12.03.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht 3-D-written model to provide better understanding of cancer spread
05.03.2018 | Purdue University

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>