中文版 web

Reserch News

Tianjin University Develops On-line Integrated Diagnosis and Treatment System “Tianmu”

 Research

 

 

Optimized plans for surgical operations can now be efficiently completed after a CT scan. This achievement comes from the “Tianmu” system developed by the start-up team, which consists of teachers and students from theSchool of Mechanical Engineering at Tianjin University.

The wide application of the “Tianmu” system will dramatically increase the reduction accuracy of clinical fracture surgery and the efficiency of diagnosis and treatment.

With economic and social development, an aging population and the increase in transportation, traumatic fractures have become a serious problem affecting life and health. Annually, the number of global patients suffering from lower limb fractures s exceeds 20 million. Problematic surgeries or rehabilitation of lower limb fractures can lead to motor dysfunction and severe disabilities.

In conventional fracture reduction, a doctor determines the reduction distance by measuring on the X-ray. The accuracy for this type of surgery has been limited. Although the current mainstream orthopedic medical software can improve surgical accuracy, the doctor is required to master the technique of measuring a dozen indicators of the patient, which demands a long period of study and greatly affects surgical efficiency.

The “Tianmu” system has its own methods to improve accuracy. The conventional orthopedic diagnosis depends on two X-rays by which the doctor draws several reference lines and then measures thirteen areas of data. By contrast, the “Tianmu” system can directly use the CT image information to reconstruct it into 3-D and then extract key data by the 3-D model. These processes are all completed in a flash by the background “brain”, sparing doctors complex calculations.

It is also simpler to operate. Considering the disparity in medical hardware of different areas and in computer compatibility of different hospitals, now doctors only have to open the web page and input the 3-D CT data of patients and then the system will automatically work out the optimum position of reduction and the data of the injury site. Doctors will soon get a highly accurate online reading.

So far, the “Tianmu” system has provided data support for 45 clinical operations at Tianjin Hospital, Tianjin University. Zhang Tao, the chief physician of the Department of Orthopedics at Tianjin Hospital, said: “Having analyzed the several dozen clinical operations performed with ‘Tianmu’, we found that, compared with its foreign counterparts, the system increases the accuracy of reduction by 40% and efficiency by 60%.”

The idea of the “Tianmu” system originated with Yan Wei, a 2017 master from theSchool of Mechanical Engineering at Tianjin University. Several years ago, he accidentally witnessed a doctor in his fifties standing for over two hours, holding a ruler to find the position and to make measurements on an X-ray of a patient.

“What a doctor specializes in is diagnosis and treatment. Developing a system that can liberate doctors from precise measurements and calculations is bound to improve the efficiency of treatment and benefit both doctors and patients.”

Having had the idea, Yan Wei turned for help from his supervisor, Professor Sun Taoat theSchool of Mechanical Engineering at Tianjin University.

Sun Tao and his students were at theLaboratory of Mechanisms and Robot System, whose main research direction is not directly related to medical technology. So, Yan Wei’s decisionto solve the conundrum of clinical medicine surprised Sun Tao at first.However, Sun was touched by Yan’s enthusiasm and perseverance and decided to help him realize the idea. To this end, Sun Tao brought Yan Wei to the most famous orthopedic hospital in Tianjin to consult orthopedists on the front line.

Research commenced. Yan Wei found that he knew so little about medicine. Every time Yan consulted the doctors with his supervisor, the medical terminology perplexed him. Yan bought a pile of medical textbooks to learn with his team members and a model of a full human skeleton.

“Sagittal plane, coronal plane, mechanical shaft, medial and lateral malleolus......” As the director and expert of the team, Sun Tao learned vocabulary, classification of fractures and the causes with the students on a daily basis. “We observed many operations. To test the navigation module in the system, we applied to the hospital for cadaver experiments. Some students became sick at the sight of blood. They were scared, but no one left.”

Through the relentless efforts of the teachers and students, the “Tianmu” system was ultimately born. “Tianmu” refers to On-line Integrated Diagnosis and Treatment System for Accurate Surgical Reduction and Quantitative Rehabilitation of Lower Extremity Fracture. “The system is like a brain which can remotely provide automatic diagnostic support for orthopedists.” Sun Tao said. The merit of “Tianmu” is not only highly efficient and accurate, but also convenient and pervasively applicable.

This summer, Tianjin Gukang Medical Equipment Company Limited registered by Yan Wei and several students was officially created. These young people are enormously proud of their achievements and are determined to focus on developing the robot system for integrated reduction and rehabilitation of lower extremity fracture in the future. Yan said: “The robot system will be smarter and more automatic. A new age of smart medical robots won’t be far off.”

By: Wang Yuqi

Editors: Harlan Haverback, Sun Xiaofang