The aim of this project is to design two sterile devices for epidural needle insertion which can measure in real time (i) the depth of needle tip during insertion and (ii) interspinous pressure changes through a pressure measurement device as the epidural needle is advanced through the tissue layers. The length measurement device uses a small wireless camera with video processing computer algorithms which can detect and measure the moving needle. The pressure measurement device uses entirely sterile componenets including a pressure transducer to accurately measure syringe saline in mm Hg. The data from these two devices accurately describe a needle insertion allowing comparison or review of insertions. The data was then cross-referenced to pre-measured data from MRI or ultrasound scan to identify how ligemant thickness correlates to our measured depth and pressure data. The developed devices have been tested on a porcine specimen during insertions performed by experienced anaesthetists. We have obtained epidural pressures for each ligament and demonstrated functionality of our devices to measure pressure and depth of epidural needle during insertion. This has not previously been possible to monitor in real-time. The benefits of these devices are (i) to provide an alternative method to identify correct needle placement during the procedure on real patients. (ii) The data describing the speed, depth and pressure during insertion can be used to configure an epidural simulator, simulating the needle insertion procedure. (iii) Our pressure and depth data can be compared to pre-measured MRI and ultrasound to identify previously unknown links between epidural pressure and depth with BMI, obesity and body shapes.
Vaughan, N., Dubey, V. N., Wee, M. Y. K., & Isaacs, R. (2014). Devices for accurate placement of epidural Tuohy needle for Anaesthesia administration. Mechanical Sciences, 5(1), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.5194/ms-5-1-2014