2012 BMEStart winners

We're pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 BMEStart biomedical design competition for undergraduate students.
 

First place, winning $10,000:
AssureFit Chest Tube Stabilization Device, Clemson University

Chest tube insertions are the most commonly performed surgical procedure in thoracic surgery. However, up to 30% of chest tube insertions involve complications that can include dislodgement, which requires immediate action. It is crucial to properly secure a chest tube on the first attempt so that the patient doesn’t have to undergo unnecessary pain and additional risk.

This team’s device will eliminate the current method of securement (sutures and adhesives) by decreasing the distance between the tube insertion site and the anchoring site. The device is comprised of an eight-petalled silicone elastomer ring that slides over the chest tube up to the insertion site, where it is sutured to the skin. The device can contour to the patient’s body with a secure form-fit because of the thin petalled design and the material used.

 

Second place, winning $5,000:
QuickStitch - Improved Fascia Closure Tool, Johns Hopkins University

Approximately 9-19% of 4-5 million open abdominal surgeries each year result in postoperative complications, which cost the health care system $2.5 billion per year. The main cause of these complications is the improper closure of fascia, a layer of muscle underneath the skin that protects the internal organs. Currently, fascia closure is performed with the traditional combination of suture and needle. But this method requires surgeons to roughly estimate suture placement across the incision, leading to uneven placement and compromised closure integrity, and the internal organs are exposed to the sharp needle.
 
To address these issues, this team designed the QuickStitch, a mechanical suturing device that will better uphold the integrity of the fascia layer. The QuickStitch is a plier-like device that can drive and transfer a needle across its jaw. To use the QuickStitch, the surgeon places the fascia between the jaws of the device, squeezes the handle, and toggles a switch to transfer the needle across the layer. The needle is protected in the process, eliminating exposure to the intestines. With this device, surgeons can close fascia more safely, easily, and consistently.