We designed an unobtrusive, safe, adjustable system to accurately hold and position endoscopes during ear surgery in order to free the surgeon’s hands. Endoscopic surgery is rapidly developing in the field of otology. Endoscopic surgery involves inserting a scope along the ear canal and does not require cutting behind the patient’s ear. It is a minimally invasive procedure and offers a better range of vision than the microscope. However, the use of endoscopic equipment in otology is limited by the loss of two-handed techniques, as the surgeon must constantly hold the endoscope, weighing about 250 g, with one hand in the ear cavity. In addition, endoscopic surgery comes with ergonomics problems; the surgeon’s range of hand and back motion is limited by the endoscope position. To solve the drawbacks currently associated with endoscopic ear surgery, a novel endoscope holder for otology is being proposed. This was a team project done for the MIT class Medical Device Design. I was responsible for designing and building the gantry, making the magnetic sphere, and building the device.
There are many functional requirements associated with the design of an endoscope holder for otology. First, the holder must enable precise macro positioning of the endoscope and fine micro-positioning for movements in and out of the ear canal. Second, the device must be safe for the patient. A two millimeters error in positioning inside the ear canal can result in damage to ear drum and permanent loss of hearing. The endoscope holder must also account for emergency situations such as patients waking up in the middle of surgery. Third, the endoscope holder must maintain the current surgical field. The implementation of the endoscope holder in otology should not cause surgeons to drastically alter their surgical habits. Fourth, the holder must enable frequent endoscope switching during surgery. Fifth, the holder must be sterile as it is in the surgical field. Sixth, the endoscope holder must not cause torsion or strain on any part of the endoscope, including the cables. Finally, the endoscope holder must increase the level of comfort of the surgeon by allowing two handed endoscopic surgery, with no additional strain on the surgeon.For more information and to see the final design please read the final paper [🔗]