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Feasibility of Using Optical Sensing to Measure Bore Depth in Surgical Bone Drilling

7 pagesPublished: August 17, 2017


The depth gauge is used in many osteosynthesis surgeries to measure drilled bore depth for screw selection, and has significant limitations. Its use has been shown to contribute to placement of incorrectly sized screws, which can lead to adverse outcomes in patients.
We have developed an automatic depth gauge prototype which mounts on an existing surgical drill and makes use of an optical sensor. This builds off previous work in our lab which showed that drilled bore depth could be computed from continuous measurement of drill displacement relative to the bone. We tested our device in animal models and compared it with digital calipers as a gold standard. In a simple porcine model the prototype showed potentially superior performance (mean error 2.05mm, SD 0.67mm) compared with the conventional depth gauge (mean error 0.83 mm, SD 1.55 mm). However, this could not be reproduced in a more realistic porcine model.An automated depth gauge mounted on a conventional surgical drill shows potential as a replacement for the existing depth gauge, but the design needs to be refined for use in an operating room setting.

Keyphrases: surgical drill, smart instrument, Orthopaedics

In: Klaus Radermacher and Ferdinando Rodriguez Y Baena (editors). CAOS 2017. 17th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Computer Assisted Orthopaedic Surgery, vol 1, pages 333--339

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