Surgical micro-endoscopes

Surgical Micro-endoscopes for the Developing World

Scott Howard, Department of Electrical Engineering (UND)

Medical imaging technology is crucial for accurate diagnosis, and it is an invaluable tool during therapy and surgery. The developing world, however, lacks access to even basic imaging tools. Additionally, many medical conditions – some as simple as a tooth infection – may become fatal if left untreated or incompletely treated. Clinics cannot rely on follow-up visits to treat secondary infections and must properly treat tooth infections (i.e., root canals) without the aid of large, expensive, and power hungry x-ray technology that is available in more developed regions. While x-ray imaging is considered the standard procedure for evaluating surgical performance of a root canal, recent work has demonstrated the feasibility of micro-endoscopic surgical techniques.[i] The REU student will work to design, fabricate, and characterize a low cost micro-endoscope (outer diameter 0.7-0.5 mm) that combines advances in off-the-shelf imaging fiber bundle technology, semiconductor-based photodetector arrays (e.g., CCD), and displays. The device will be similar to previous endoscopic devices[ii] but with significantly simpler design and a flexible fiber bundle. This project is enabled by the low-cost, low-power, ubiquitous, and high-resolution cameras and displays developed for advanced cellular phones. The micro-endoscope performance will be evaluated in collaboration with dental students performing procedures in Madagascar with Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.

[i] Moshonov J, Michaeli E, Nahlieli O., “Endoscopic root canal treatment.” Quintessence Int., 40(9) 739-44, 2009

[ii] Huland, D. M. Huland; Brown, Christopher M; Howard, Scott S; Ouzounov, Dimitre G; Pavlova, Ina; Wang, Ke; Rivera, David R; Webb, Watt W; Xu, Chris, “In vivo imaging of unstained tissues using long gradient index lens multiphoton endoscopic systems.” Biomed Opt Expresss 3, 1077–85 (2012).