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On the Design of Shape Memory Alloy Locking Mechanism: A Novel Solution for Laparoscopic Ligation Process

Authors: Reza Yousefian, Michael A. Kia, Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh


The blood ducts must be occluded to avoid loss of blood from vessels in laparoscopic surgeries. This paper presents a locking mechanism to be used in a ligation laparoscopic procedure (LigLAP I), as an alternative solution for a stapling procedure. Currently, stapling devices are being used to occlude vessels. Using these devices may result in some problems, including injury of bile duct, taking up a great deal of space behind the vessel, and bile leak. In this new procedure, a two-layer suture occludes a vessel. A locking mechanism is also required to hold the suture. Since there is a limited space at the device tip, a Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuator is used in this mechanism. Suitability for cleanroom applications, small size, and silent performance are among the advantages of SMA actuators in biomedical applications. An experimental study is conducted to examine the function of the locking mechanism. To set up the experiment, a prototype of a locking mechanism is built using nitinol, which is a nickel-titanium shape memory alloy. The locking mechanism successfully locks a polymer suture for all runs of the experiment. In addition, the effects of various surface materials on the applied pulling forces are studied. Various materials are mounted at the mechanism tip to compare the maximum pulling forces applied to the suture for each material. The results show that the various surface materials on the device tip provide large differences in the applied pulling forces.

Keywords: Laparoscopic Surgery, ligation process, locking mechanism, Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuator

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