Fall 2017 Project
Idea: Develop and design a functional partial body surgical containment system (SCS) that enables basic trauma surgical procedures in micro-gravity environments by mitigating bodily fluid pooling and scattering effects through fluid immersion and variable body containment. The surgical procedures selected to be implemented into the SCS design will be derived from procedures that address high frequency injuries in extreme environments (e.g. combat, arctic, and space).
Significance: By enabling astronauts the ability to perform basic surgical procedures during a long distance and duration mission, astronauts will be able to increase their overall tolerance against emergency physical accidents that are likely to occur during the mission. But to perform surgery in space two main issues have to be addressed: particle dispersion and visual impairment by bodily fluid pooling. Fluids in micro-gravity have the tendency to disperse into smaller particles when collided with another object. If the fluid is a bodily fluid as blood, such insistence may increase possibility for infection or transfer of viral/bacterial disease for astronauts in air-recycled space station or spacecraft. To prevent particle dispersion during a surgical procedure in micro-gravity, the SCS has a fluid immersion feature that deals with the bodily fluid particle dispersion issue by trapping all the bodily fluids in the immersion fluid in the contained area. Fluids also have a tendency to pool in the opening of the fluid outlet. If an astronaut gets a wound that punctures through the skin and allows blood to flow out, the blood will start to pool in the wounded area. Operation at that situation becomes difficult because of the low transparency of blood that is impairing the operator's vision to operate properly. With the immersion fluid that will cover the bodily fluid and be purified simultaneously to increase transparency during operation in the SCS,the operator will be able be able to see the wounded area to an operable visual status.
Proof of Concept: Simulated surgery under aqueous solutions in micro-gravity have been studied and proven to be feasible in ridding blood pooling effect and preventing blood dispersion by research conducted by Carnegie Mellon University researchers.