Grasping Applicator for Surgical Positioning (GRASP)


A team of Vanderbilt engineers and surgeons has developed a novel bone and tissue graft placement device, primarily for use in the nasal and skull base cavities. The device uses a unique grasping technique to provide control and finesse in the placement of such grafts in addition to combining the roles of multiple instruments into a single device. The clinical purpose of this tool is to provide surgeons with an instrument that can grasp, place, and manipulate rigid and non-rigid graft materials in a controlled manner for skull base reconstruction; such control is very desirable in order to recreate a sound bony barrier that separates the intracranial and extracranial spaces.

Addressed Clinical Need

The present device has been designed for procedures which involve the insertion of bone or tissue graft in the nasal or skull base cavities, including the following procedures:

• Transsphenoidal pituitary surgery

• Repair of skull-base CSF leaks and encephaloceles

• Endoscopic resection of anterior skull base tumors

The graft placement is currently conducted in three phases:

• Transporting the graft to the working area.

• Placing the graft into the skull base.

• Adjusting the fine placement of the graft.

Endoscopic forceps, utilizing a symmetrical jaw-like grasping technique, are used to transport the graft and initially place it on the base of the cavity. The limited clearance available for opening the jaws frequently leads to inaccurate placement of the grafts. Following the placement, the surgeon pushes the graft to the desired position, using the same endoscopic forceps. Nowhere during the entire process is the graft held in a controllable fashion.

Technology Description

In the present device, the graft is controllably grasped during the placement, as both functions of placement and adjustment of the graft are accomplished by a single device. Capitalizing on these weaknesses in the existing method, this device eliminates the need to switch operative tools by combining the clasping ability of the forceps with the flat, spatula characteristics of the current positioning probe. The device also facilitates the application of force and release of graft at the location effectively.

Technology Development Status

• Working prototypes have been built and are undergoing testing and refinement.

• Additional market opportunities may be available, with minor redesign, in the fields of otology, laryngology, and facial trauma repair.

Intellectual Property Status

• Patent Application has been filed

• Winner of 2013 Design of Medical Devices Conference Three in Five Competition

• Publication:

Ray LathropRichard HendrickJohn SchneiderRobert Webster
Licensing manager: 
Ashok Choudhury

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