Industrial Design Brings Joints to Life

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An innovative industrial design has revolutionized the arthroscopic examination of joints by allowing physicians to perform visual examinations in an office setting with minimal invasiveness and unnecessary surgical procedures (

The new endoscopic technology developed by VisionScope Technologies of Littleton, MA, with contributions from Integrated Design of Great Neck, NY, produces high-definition, diagnostic-quality video and still images, bringing joint condition and pathology to life in real time. State-of-the-art video hardware, micro-optics and advanced computational software come together in a miniature diagnostic tool used by physicians to examine joints such as knees, shoulders and elbows.

“This ground breaking system offers a paradigm improvement in patient care by enabling physicians to view internal injuries non-invasively, at minimal cost, in a non-sterile office setting,” says Michael Paloian, President, Integrated Design.

The innovative VisionScope® uses an endoscope inserted through a needle-thin cannula to view internal joints and torn ligaments via a miniature high-definition camera. The procedure, conducted under a local anesthetic, reduces the need for high-cost MRI and surgeries. The targeted-access cannula, equipped with a fluid entry port, also serves as a convenient working channel through which to administer injectable therapies.

Integrated Design seamlessly integrated plastics engineering, mechanical design and human factors with sophisticated components such as fiber optics and opto-electronics. Drawing on the multi-disciplinary expertise of Integrated Design’s award-winning team, which has developed dozens of other breakthrough medical devices, the project involved numerous engineering and material science challenges associated with the endoscope’s functionality and ease of operation, Paloian says.

The VisionScope’s® ultra-compact camera housing needed to withstand repeated exposure to corrosive sterilization cycles.. In addition, Integrated Design custom-designed the disposable sheath and material used to protect the endoscope from contamination and safeguard sterility. “This deceptively simple task required extensive analysis of the operation sequences associated with this procedure as well as many brain storming sessions to creatively solve the problems,” Paloian elaborates. All innovative solutions had to comply with stringent FDA standards and safety specifications, he adds.

A disposable light pipe surrounding the endoscope was designed to channel light from a single source LED located within the handheld camera assembly. Paloian explains: “This complex assembly was designed to be low cost, easily applied to the camera body with a simple quarter turn lock and be as compact as possible. Material selection for the entire assembly was extremely challenging since numerous dissimilar materials were combined to form this multifunctional disposable component.”

Furthermore, the system’s central touch-screen display and control module had to utilize easy-to-navigate menus for physicians.

According to Paloian, “the design of this product was not limited to a simple cosmetic veneer that would improve customer appeal or product branding. The design process was a comprehensive macroscopic and microscopic development effort which involved dynamically changing exchanges of information to be processed on multiple levels concurrently.”

Integrated Design has 30 years of experience developing breakthrough medical devices used in imaging, rehabilitation, surgery, mammography and dentistry.

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Michael Paloian
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