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[2013/10/31] Professor Yin Chang Receives Silver Medal at R.O.C.'s National Invention and Creation Award 2013

[2013/10/31]

Professor Yin Chang Receives Silver Medal at R.O.C.'s National Invention and Creation Award 2013

Professor Yin Chang from the School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, National Yang-Ming University and Dr. Chien-Kun Ting from the Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital who jointly developed " Spinal cord's epidural space detection by using fiber optic technique" won the Silver Medal in the National Invention and Creation Award 2013 competition. The National Invention and Creation Award 2013 conferred by the Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs R.O.C, rewards outstanding innovative achievements. The grand ceremony was held on October 9 2013.

Professor Chang said that epidural anesthesia is a kind of anesthetic technique of neural block which is widely used in regional anesthesia, postoperative pain control, painless childbirth and chronic pain control. This kind of anesthetic procedure is estimated to perform 130 millions cases annually worldwide. During the surgery for the neural block, anesthetic drug will be delivered to the epidural space. Thus accurate localization of epidural space is required.

Traditional method of " epidural space positioning " is to use a set of puncture needle. Of which a solid inner needle is inserted in a hollow outer needle. During surgery, the anesthesiologist uses this needle set to stab into the intervertebral gap of the patient. Since the legamentum flavum is relatively tighter than the other tissues (such as muscle, fat, etc.), thus the anesthesiologist can " feel " the pressure difference by hand to find the location of epidural space. But this kind of subjective technique may not be applicable to the patents, such as elderly or fatty people, whose tissue tightness may greatly reduce and hard to feel the pressure difference. Thus tissue firmness feeling is not a reliable method. Dura could be punctured due to carelessness or mistake during the anesthetic procedure and results in an accident.

Professor Chang's research team developed a hollow inner needle, embedded with the plurality of optical fibers. Because of different tissues have their own spectral characteristics in absorption and reflection to light, thus at least two particular wavelengths can provide sufficient information to identify a particular tissue. Therefore to localize the needle tip in tissues using this technology becomes possible. Since there are lots of difference in the reflective spectra between the ligamentum flavum and epidural space, thus large signal change can be observed. The feasibility experiments have been done in vitro and in vivo in pigs and more animal data are in collection for further clinical trials.

Professor Chang's relevant academic papers have been published in the academic journals such as Anesthesiology, British Journal of Anesthesia and others. Patents are also applied in multiple countries. This technology will open a new field in anesthesiology and can greatly reduce the risk for regional anesthesia.

Professor Yin Chang (right) receives the prize at the ceremony.

Professor Yin Chang (right) receives the prize at the ceremony.


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