Tying up blood vessels using the medical technology we have today is a highly tedious procedure, prone to error. It involves the surgeons manually tying up tubes that are lesser in diameter than hair follicles. The procedure could take up to hours and has the potential to be fatal. Many soldiers lose out their limbs because the military medicals do not have the equipment or the professional know how of specialised surgeons to do this. It is all of this that inspired the mechanical engineering students of Northeastern University to create the design of “anastomotic coupler”, a device that would finish the process within minutes. They worked with inventor and reconstructive microsurgeon Dr. Lifei Guo. The project is also aligning with Northeastern University’s commitment to use research to address global problems, especially in the health sector.
The design made by the students is purely based on theory for now but if it could be practically carried out, it could open new areas of research and a revolutionary change in reconstructive medical microsurgery. The idea was initially conceptualised by Guo himself on ways to improve vessel anastomosis. It was later discussed by Brigha and Women’s Hospital, where he works, and Northeastern University on how the idea can be furthered to bring the concept to a reality by collaborating the organisations. It was this that later led to the students’ involvement.
The project is also an example of how a partnership between expert knowledge and new creativity from the youth could lead to great success for the field in its growth.
N Malavika Mohan