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Welds rather than knots – the Fraunhofer IPT has developed a new instrument for keyhole surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is rapidly becoming the technique for performing increasingly complex keyhole operations. During the MEDTEC trade fair from March 22 to 24 in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will be presenting several instruments for this patientfriendly operating technique at stand 6211.

New suture technique for keyhole operations

An instrument recently developed by the Fraunhofer IPT, involving a defined thread tension, can be used to sew up operational wounds within the human body and ultimately accelerate the postoperative healing process.

A laser welds the thread together with a plastic sleeve to form a tear-proof join. This makes it possible to quickly suture the tissue in a confined space with a consistent, reproducible thread tension. The semi-automated process will be tested in cooperation with industrial partners as part of a joint project entitled »Die Naht – SafeSuture« in order to prepare the product for sale.

Glass fiber reinforced plastic guide wires for operations in MRI without ionizing radiation

The traditional forms of x-ray diagnostics and computer tomography often involve high doses of radiation, especially for children, and provide a poorer image of soft tissue than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Medics from Kings College in London are now examining a newly developed guide wire made from glass fiber reinforced plastic for use in vascular diagnostics and therapy: in contrast to the common wires made of metal, this fiber reinforced wire does not heat up in a magnetic field and does not interfere with the image. This makes it possible to perform minimally invasive operations on patients in the MRI without causing any ionizing radiation or the need of contrast agents. The Fraunhofer IPT’s guide wire is preparing the way for keyhole operations such as children’s heart surgery – under conditions that are gentler to the patient.

Multi-functional, carbon fiber reinforced plastic puncture needle

The Fraunhofer IPT has also developed a carbon fiber reinforced plastic puncture needle for use in MRI. These needles can, for instance, be used to puncture the spinal cord or for knee and spinal disc operations. They have outstanding mechanical properties and, compared to conventional instruments, are less sensitive to magnetic fields, so they do not interfere with the magnetic resonance image. These needles are already being produced in series and used in human surgery.


Dr.-Ing. Michael Emonts
Fraunhofer-Institut für
Produktionstechnologie IPT
Steinbachstr. 17
52074 Aachen
Phone +49 241 8904-150
Fax +49 241 8904-6150
Dipl.-Ing. Adrian Schütte
Fraunhofer-Institut für
Produktionstechnologie IPT
Steinbachstr. 17
52074 Aachen
Phone +49 241 8904-251
Fax +49 241 8904-6251

Susanne Krause | Fraunhofer-Institut
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