Combined OCT distance and FBG force sensing cannulation needle for retinal vein cannulation: in vivo animal validation

M Ourak, J Smits, L Esteveny, G Borghesan, A Gijbels, L Schoevaerdts, Y Douven, J Scholtes, E Lankenau, T Eixmann, H Schulz-Hildebrandt, G Hüttmann, M Kozlovszky, G Kronreif, K Willekens, P Stalmans, K Faridpooya, M Cereda, A Giani, G StaurenghiD Reynaerts, E B Vander Poorten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


PURPOSE: Retinal vein cannulation is an experimental procedure during which a clot-dissolving drug is injected into an obstructed retinal vein. However, due to the fragility and minute size of retinal veins, such procedure is considered too risky to perform manually. With the aid of surgical robots, key limiting factors such as: unwanted eye rotations, hand tremor and instrument immobilization can be tackled. However, local instrument anatomy distance and force estimation remain unresolved issues. A reliable, real-time local interaction estimation between instrument tip and the retina could be a solution. This paper reports on the development of a combined force and distance sensing cannulation needle, and its experimental validation during in vivo animal trials.

METHODS: Two prototypes are reported, relying on force and distance measurements based on FBG and OCT A-scan fibres, respectively. Both instruments provide an 80 [Formula: see text] needle tip and have outer shaft diameters of 0.6 and 2.3 mm, respectively.

RESULTS: Both prototypes were characterized and experimentally validated ex vivo. Then, paired with a previously developed surgical robot, in vivo experimental validation was performed. The first prototype successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using a combined force and distance sensing instrument in an in vivo setting.

CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate the feasibility of deploying a combined sensing instrument in an in vivo setting. The performed study provides a foundation for further work on real-time local modelling of the surgical scene. This paper provides initial insights; however, additional processing remains necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Animals
  • Catheterization/instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Micromanipulation/instrumentation
  • Models, Animal
  • Needles
  • Retinal Vein
  • Retinal Vein Occlusion/surgery
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures/instrumentation
  • Swine
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence/methods


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