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A Smart Sensing Cannula for Fat Grafting

Turer, David M. M.D., M.S.; Qaium, Ehsan B. M.S.; Lawrence, April M. B.S.; Clark, William W. Ph.D.; Rubin, J. Peter M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2019 - Volume 144 - Issue 2 - p 385-388
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000005866
Experimental: Ideas and Innovations

Summary: Gluteal fat grafting has been highlighted as a significant safety issue in plastic surgery, with a mortality rate as high as one in 3000 cases. Injury to the gluteal veins resulting in fat emboli has been identified as the cause of these mortalities. The gluteal veins lie deep to the gluteal musculature in the buttocks, and it has been suggested that avoiding intramuscular injection of fat may prevent these complications. The authors present a novel injection cannula design that uses impedance sensing to determine the location of the cannula tip. Specifically, the system can determine when the tip of the cannula leaves the subcutaneous plane and enters muscle. The use of this system may prevent inadvertent injury to the gluteal veins and subsequent embolic complications.


Pittsburgh, Pa.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; and the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh.

Received for publication September 5, 2018; accepted February 14, 2019.

Presented at Plastic Surgery The Meeting 2018, Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in Chicago, Illinois, September 28 through October 1, 2018.

Disclosure:The authors are named as inventors on a patent application assigned to the University of Pittsburgh and licensed to Black Tie Medical Inc.

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J. Peter Rubin, M.D., 3550 Terrace Street, Scaife Hall, Suite 6B, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15261,

Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons