Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Dr Rajni V. Patel

2nd Supervisor

Dr Michael D. Naish

Joint Supervisor


Mechanical vibration as a way of transmitting energy has been an interesting subject to study. While cyclic oscillation is usually associated with fatigue effect, and hence a detrimental factor in failure of structures and machineries, by controlled transmission of vibration, energy can be transferred from the source to the target. In this thesis, the application of such mechanical vibration in a few surgical procedures is demonstrated.

Three challenges associated with lung cancer diagnosis and treatment are chosen for this purpose, namely, Motion Compensation, tumor targeting in lung Needle Insertion and Soft Tissue Dissection:

  1. A robotic solution is proposed for compensating for the undesirable oscillatory motion of soft tissue (caused by heart beat and respiration) during needle insertion in the lung. An impedance control strategy based on a mechanical vibratory system is implemented to minimize the tissue deformation during needle insertion. A prototype was built to evaluate the proposed approach using: 1) two Mitsubishi PA10-7C robots, one for manipulating the macro part and the other for mimicking the tissue motion, 2) one motorized linear stage to handle the micro part, and 3) a Phantom Omni haptic device for remote manipulation. Experimental results are given to demonstrate the performance of the motion compensation system.
  2. A vibration-assisted needle insertion technique has been proposed in order to reduce needle–tissue friction. The LuGre friction model is employed as a basis for the study and the model is extended and analyzed to include the impact of high-frequency vibration on translational friction. Experiments are conducted to evaluate the role of insertion speed as well as vibration frequency on frictional effects. In the experiments conducted, an 18 GA brachytherapy needle was vibrated and inserted into an ex-vivo soft tissue sample using a pair of amplified piezoelectric actuators. Analysis demonstrates that the translational friction can be reduced by introducing a vibratory low-amplitude motion onto a regular insertion profile, which is usually performed at a constant rate.
  3. A robotics-assisted articulating ultrasonic surgical scalpel for minimally invasive soft tissue cutting and coagulation is designed and developed. For this purpose, the optimal design of a Langevin transducer with stepped horn profile is presented for internal-body applications. The modeling, optimization and design of the ultrasonic scalpel are performed through equivalent circuit theory and verified by finite element analysis. Moreover, a novel surgical wrist, compatible with the da Vinci® surgical system, with decoupled two degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) is developed that eliminates the strain of pulling cables and electrical wires. The developed instrument is then driven using the dVRK (da Vinci® research kit) and the Classic da Vinci® surgical system.