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Minimally Invasive Surgery and Interventional Techniques
Department of Biomechanical Engineering - Delft University of Technology
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Dr.ir. Tim Horeman
Ir. Julie Fleischer
Graduation assignment: surgical contraceptive clip
05 February 2018

Introduction

Tubal ligation (Dutch: sterilisatie) is the most popular method of female contraception because it is hormone-free, highly effective and it is a one-time action. The major drawback of the method is that it requires surgery, which is always associated with health risks. Also, for many women in low-resource regions, surgery is not accessible due to economic or practical reasons. Opt Medical is a start-up with the ambition to improve access to tubal ligation, empowering women worldwide.

 

Rather than planning a surgery for each woman who wants to have her tubes tied, Opt Medical offers delayed sterilisation using surgical clips that are implanted during a C-section, the most common surgery in low-resource settings. Each clip is a small medical implant that is placed - with consent- around the ovarian tubes during surgery and has no effect until desired. After placement of the clips, women who do wish to get pregnant have to take no action whatsoever, their fertility is not influenced by the implants. Whenever a woman is sure that she never wants to get pregnant again, the clips are activated by a professional without surgery so that they occlude the fallopian tubes and effectively prevent future pregnancies.

 

Delayed sterilisation will reduce the physical risk associated with tubal ligation surgery, improve the access to a permanent family planning method and allow women to take control over their fertility by giving them time to make a well-informed decision. This will contribute to reduced rates of maternal and neonatal death, improved educational prospects for women and better odds for rising above the poverty line.

 

Graduation Assignment

During the graduation project you will focus on one or multiple aspects for improvement/re-design of the clip and its activation performance. The exact topic will be established based on your interests and the design stage of the clip. Examples are: safe clip-tissue interaction with phantom tissues, remote activation, material performance and effective tubal occlusion. You will establish requirements, come up with various solutions, create prototypes and/or test set-ups and evaluate performance.

 

Student Profile

-   fluent in Dutch or English

-   independent and pragmatic approach

-   background in biomedical engineering and/or electronics engineering or similar relevant knowledge

-   strong research and experimental skills

-   proficient in mathematical programming and FEM software

-   ambitious and result-oriented

-   affinity for design for low-resource settings

-   previous experience in a clinical setting or a low-resource setting is considered an asset

 

You will be supervised by Dr. ir. Tim Horeman (Misit - t.horeman@tudelft.nl) and Julie Fleischer (Opt Medical, Misit - j.c.fleischer@tudelft.nl). For more information, contact one them.

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