In current bipolar electrosurgical instruments, a high frequency electrical sinusoidal wave is passed through the patient's body from an active electrode to the return electrode to cut, coagulate, or desiccate tissues. Even though current bipolar electrosurgical instruments have proven effective in minimizing blood loss, advancement is needed to allow for improved dexterity and adaptability. With current advances in threedimensional (3D)-print processes and its integration in the medical field, it has become possible to manufacture patient-and operation-specific instruments. In this study, we introduce the first 3D-printed steerable bipolar grasper (□ 5 mm) for use in minimal invasive surgery. The grasper significantly improves dexterity by the addition of two planar joints allowing for ±65 deg for sideways and ±85 deg for up- and downward movement. The joints enable a significantly higher bending stiffness, 4.0 N/mm for joint 1 and 4.4 N/mm for joint 2, than that of currently available steerable instruments. The tip consists of two metallic movable jaws that can be opened and closed with angles up to 170 deg and allows for grasping and coagulating of tissues; reaching tissue temperatures of over 75 °C for an activation time of ~5 s, respectively. In order to actuate the joint, tip, and electrosurgical system, as well as to tension the steering cables, a ring handle was designed. In summary, the 3D-printed steerable bipolar grasper provides the surgeon with electrosurgical capabilities, improved dexterity, improved stiffness, and the versatility that is needed to provide patient- and operation-specific care.
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- Additive manufacturing
- Bipolar electrosurgery
- Medical device design
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Steerable instruments