New manufacturing process could produce MRI compatible minimally invasive devices | Innovation

An EU project has opened up opportunities for the manufacture of customised devices that are fully compatible with MRI technology.

The OpenMind project, which involves nine European partners across six different countries, resulted in a new generation of guidewires for minimally invasive interventions that can be used with MRI technology.

The project developed the first production process using fibre-reinforced plastics (FBR) which is able to customised minimally invasive medical devices that could give physicians greater applicability during MRI guided surgeries. Some of the devices that could be produced using the new production process include catheters, puncture needles and aneurysm clips.

MRI represents the best way to image the cardiovascular system and the heart. The OpenMind project transforms the MRI from a sophisticated diagnostic technology into a therapeutic tool, through the use of metal-free operation tools which are compatible with diagnostic images.

OpenMind allows individual configurations of visual properties depending on the physician’s preferences. The appearance of the guidewire’s for image-guided surgeries can be customised through the marker’s type, position and absolute frequency. This helps surgeons navigate through the patient’s vascular system with more precision and also increases the appeal of MRI-supported interventions.

The production system includes both hardware and software, with the hardware being composed of several modules for the different production and machining steps that are required for guidewire manufacturing. The software utilises a tailored statistical process control system and a process model based on machine learning algorithms. More so, the system is able to identify failures in manufacturing by using a statistical process control (SPC) which evaluated the quality of the guidewire during production. For manufacturers, this makes the process development more flexible and enables a higher automation level, as new combinations of physical properties do not need to be tested before production.

Jonathan von Helden representing Fraunhofer IPT, one of the project’s partners, said: “The OpenMind approach aims at the development of a highly flexible process chain for the on-demand production of entirely customised minimally invasive medical devices. Beyond the technological and economical innovations for medical device manufac­turing companies, we want to emphasise the great advantages, which physicians will be able to make use of in diagnostic and therapeutic minimal invasive interventions, once the technology reaches a specific readiness level”.

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