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William J. Foster, Jijo Jizhou Wang; Design Parameters for a Small-Gauge Fragmatome. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2019;8(4):21. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.8.4.21.
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Manufacturers of surgical instrumentation have increasingly sought to decrease the size of ophthalmic surgical instruments. We have used finite element modeling to model the stress and strain present in a fragmatome as a function of driving frequency and fragmatome dimensions.
Finite element calculations using the COMSOL Multiphysics system v3.5 were used to elucidate the influence of wall thickness, length, and excitation frequency on a titanium fragmatome tube with outer diameters of 20, 23, 25, and 27 gauge.
By coupling structural mechanics, fluid mechanics, and acoustical physics, we were able to determine the eigenfrequencies (resonant frequencies) as well as parameters in which the von Mises stress in a fragmatome tube exceeds the yield strength, leading to destruction of the instrument.
Solid fragmatomes have far fewer possible failure modes than fragmatomes with a standard wall thickness. Eigenfrequency analysis and finite element calculations can be critical in predicting potentially catastrophic designs in modern surgical instruments.
Instruments developed for microsurgical applications cannot always simply be scaled down versions of conventional instruments. Such an approach can lead to potentially dangerous intraoperative failures, such as a fragmatome shattering inside the eye. Modern engineering techniques are increasingly necessary to investigate potential instrument failure mechanisms and to optimize device performance in a design in silico before in vivo testing.
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