Custom cable and connectors from Germany-based ODU played a significant role in the development of a surgical microscope system that brain surgeons can adjust with their lips rather than their hands.
Removing brain tumors can be a tricky business. In Russia, the operation involves looking through a microscope while carefully making small cuts, according to ODU. Surgeons in the past had to frequently adjust the microscope for a clearer view of what they were removing.
Dr. David Pitskhelauri thought there had to be a better way, according to ODU. Pitskhelauri has a lab at Moscow’s Burdenko Neurosurgery Institute in Russia, where he is a respected neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors and surgical epilepsy therapy. Pitskhelauri learned over the years that surgical success is about more than knowledge and skills. Patience is also critical, said Pitskhelauri, as related by ODU. Constant manual adjustments to the surgical microscope can cause pauses in operations and suck up valuable time. The longer the surgery lasts, the more prolonged the anesthesia, which means added stress for the patient. Shorter surgeries are the way to go. Pitskhelauri wondered whether it was possible for him to adjust the microscope without taking his hands out of the operational field. The saved time could be critical.
The solution that came from Moscow-based Astratech involved a complex system able to convert lip movements into control signals for the microscope. The system needed a quick response, sensitivity and precision. Astratech director Nicolay Rozhnin relied on a team with years of experience in electronics and micro-technology.
The new system needed one more critical element, though, and it involved electrical connectors. The surgical microscope system needed cable and connectors able to provide reliable power and signal transmission, free of failure, between the control device and the control system of the surgical microscope. Off-the-shelf versions would not do. Astratech relied on a previous collaborator – subcontractor and connector manufacturer ODU – to provide customized, application-specific designs. ODU produced cable assemblies for an important part of the overall system.
The MARI project, as it came to be called, resulted in a somewhat heavy helmet weighing 1,100 g. But because the helmet connects to the microscope and spreads its weight across the head, it’s not a problem for the surgeon, according to ODU.
The MARI system contains ODU connectors on each side of the device. There are also additional ODU MINI-SNAP push-pull connectors for a total of six different cable assemblies. The connectors ensure the power supply to the control device and small electromagnets, as well as the signal transmission to the surgical microscope.
The push-pull cable assembly in the MARI is even heated through the eyepieces on the control device to prevent viewing from fogging during surgery.
The MARI system is gaining interest in the neurosurgery world, according to ODU. There are patents for the system in the Russian Federation, the E.U., and the U.S., with surgeons presently using it in Russia and Europe. Here’s a YouTube video of the MARI-5 in action: http://tinyurl.com/odu-mari-5