NIH awards pedicle screw breech-preventing instrument 1st place in undergraduate competition

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |


The National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering gave first place in a competition for engineering undergraduate design competitions to a spinal project addressing postoperative neurological or vascular complications from incorrect screw placement.


The project, AccuSpine, was developed by a team of seven students from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The team designed an improved pedicle screw probe to reduce breeches during spinal fusion procedures. There are around 500,000 spinal fusion surgeries preformed in the United States each year and around 20 percent of the screws are placed incorrectly.


AccuSpine gives surgeons feedback through vibrations and LED lights when they are close to breeching. As part of the competition, the team explained the significance of the problem they addressed and developed an existing prototype.


As the first place winner, the team of students will receive $20,000.


Other recognized projects were a Sensory Substitution Glove to supplement the traditional white cane used by people who are visually impaired to warn people of immediate impediments and the Nutriflow to address problems associated with tube feeding breast milk to underweight infants.


More articles on spine surgery:
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Dr. Mark Foster joins New Hanover Regional Medical Center


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