Science & Tech

Safer Surgeries

An assistant professor in Texas A&M's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering helped develop a wireless lighting device that allows for direct illumination during surgeries.
By Rachel Rose, Texas A&M University College of Engineering July 5, 2019

Texas A&M University assistant professor Sung Il Park holds the wireless surgical lighting device he developed.
Texas A&M University assistant professor Sung Il Park holds the wireless surgical lighting device he developed.

Texas A&M College of Engineering


No matter how much experience a surgeon has or how low-risk the procedure, there are always risks associated with surgery. A device created by a Texas A&M University assistant professor and collaborators, though, could lower the risk and costs associated with surgery by creating a well-lit environment in operating rooms.

Sung Il Park, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has helped develop a new wireless surgical lighting device. The device consists of a light within a surgical patty, which is a pad used during operations to protect tissues and manage fluid. The patty design allows for illumination in the exact spot where the surgeon is working.

This combats the lack of efficiency of most surgical lighting devices that can’t provide high-light intensity in a particular area, leaving general surgical procedures susceptible to low-light conditions and creating the potential for complications. Not only does Park’s device illuminate the surgical field, it also absorbs biofluids or blood in a surgical spot.

“The lighted surgical patty is a multilayer patty, wherein one of the layers includes a lighting apparatus,” Park said. “Two outer layers of the lighted surgical patty include nonabsorptive fibers woven near their borders to form a uniform surface that sandwiches together a center lighted layer. The center lighted layer has an LED light encapsulated in a biocompatible layer. The center lighted layer may also contain a number of LED lights arranged in various formations so as to provide a unique lighted environment for various surgical settings.”

Park has has been closely collaborating with the Barrow Neurological Institute in Arizona on several projects since 2016. For this project, he is working closely with Clinton Morgan, neurosurgery resident. Park took the lead on the technology development. He said the device could eliminate the need for extra surgical patties and lighting devices, and could ultimately reduce surgery time and costs.

“We filed an international patent in 2017,” Park said. “Kogent Inc., one of the biggest surgical tool companies, agreed on the license and is looking into a path to commercialization. Hopefully, we can see the light apparatus being used for surgeries by next year.”

This article by Rachel Rose originally appeared on the College of Engineering website.

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