Thursday, March 6, 2014

Senior Design Project—The Culmination of My Engineering Curriculum

After three years of mostly lecture based classes, senior design allows students to apply the immense amount of knowledge they have gained to a hands-on project of their choice. As a bioengineer, my senior design team was really interested in making a medical device. After teaming up with the Simulation Center at Penn, we decided on a challenging and intellectually stimulating project. To give a little background, the Simulation Center at Penn is one of the best simulation centers in the country and is dedicated to training physicians and students on medical procedures with the goal of improving patient safety and satisfaction, all while increasing physician efficiency. After discussing with our advisor at the Sim Center, we decided to create a reusable ligating loop with delivery system.
The Ligating Loop with Delivery System, also referred to as a Snare or an EndoLoop, is a one-time use medical device used in laparoscopic surgery (minimally invasive surgery). It is most widely used in appendectomies but is also used in a number of other gastrointestinal and gynecological surgeries. The ligating loop can be used in place of staples, so its purpose is to cut off blood flow to a mass of tissue, therefore isolating the desired tissue for removal from the body.  It is generally up to the discretion of the surgeon to determine which method is used for the isolation of tissue (staples or ligating loop), but every surgeon is required to be trained on this device.

Because surgical residents must be trained to use this device, ligating loops are often available at simulation centers for practice. However, each device is approximately $40 and as I mentioned before, it can only be used once! The average resident practices the procedure 10 times, which totals to $400 in equipment per resident. As you can see, costs add up rather quickly.
Our goal is to create a reusable ligating loop with delivery system, so that residents can practice the procedure at least 10 times, all with the same device. Our prototypes right now cost approximately $10, so hopefully we will be saving the Simulation Center a lot of money!
Ellie is a Senior in Bioengineering. Questions for Ellie?  Contact her at

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