Development and Experimental Validation of a Combined FBG Force and OCT Distance Sensing Needle for Robot-Assisted Retinal Vein Cannulation

Jonas Smits1, Mouloud Ourak2, Andy Gijbels3, Laure Esteveny1, Gianni Borghesan1, Laurent Schoevaerdts4, Koen Willekens2, Peter Stalmans5, Eva Lankenau6, Hinnerk Schulz-Hildebrandt7, Gereon Hüttmann7, Dominiek Reynaerts8, Emmanuel B Vander Poorten1

  • 1KU Leuven
  • 2University of Leuven
  • 3KULeuven
  • 4Univeristy KULeuven
  • 5UZLeuven
  • 6OptoMedical Technologies GmbH
  • 8Division Production Engineering, Machine Design andAutomation, K



Interactive Session


10:30 - 13:00 | Tue 22 May | podC | TuA@C

Medical Robots - Design 1

Full Text


Retinal Vein Occlusion is a common retinal vascular disorder which can cause severe loss of vision. Retinal vein cannulation followed by injection of an anti-coagulant into the affected vein is a promising treatment. However, given the scale and fragility of the surgical workfield, this procedure is considered too high-risk to perform manually. A first successful robot-assisted procedure has been demonstrated. Even though successful, the procedure remains extremely challenging. This paper aims at providing a solution for the limited perception of instrument-tissue interaction forces as well as depth estimation during retinal vein cannulation. The development of a novel combined force and distance sensing cannulation needle relying on Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) A-scan technology is reported. The design, the manufacturing process, the calibration method, and the experimental characterization of the produced sensor are discussed. The functionality of the combined sensing modalities and the real-time distance estimation algorithm are validated respectively on in-vitro and ex-vivo models.

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Left: Sensor cross section, Right: Measurement modalities

  • Smart surgical instrument, based on Fiber Bragg Grating and single fiber Optical Coherence Tomography technology
  • 550 µm sensorized hollow instrument shaft; 80 µm bent needle tip
  • Sensor characterization: Force precision 0,2 mN; Distance precision 64 µm
  • Experimental validation on in-vitro and ex-vivo models