Surgical threads simulations based on a novel information-theory approach

Texas A&M University at Qatar in partnership with surgeons from Cornell Weill Medical School at Qatar is proposing a research program aimed at creating a physics-based software that will predict the deformation of surgical threads when subjected to conditions commonly encountered during surgery. Of particular interest is be the study of thread tangling, a non-linear and dynamical process detrimental to surgeons during knot formation. The software will use the Cosserat theory of elasticity, a theory particularly suited to describe long and thin flexible structures which take spiral-type configurations in addition to bend and twist. The uniqueness of the proposed work is the method of solution: a discrete optimization-based dynamic programming technique originally developed for information theory problems of text strings which will potentially reduce the computing time. We also plan an experimental phase on bending and twisting deformations of threads to validate the data with the simulations. The proposed research is interdisciplinary in nature with experts drawn from mechanical and electrical engineering, computer graphics and the medical fields. The outcomes of this research will help fill the gap in the area of medical simulations which lag far behind simulations in other fields. The software will train a new generation of medical school students and will diversify Qatar’s economy.