Biomedical Sensors and Subsystems

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Smart Rapid Palatal Expander for Pediatric Cleft Lip and Palate Patients
Venkatram Pepakayala, Dongmin Yoon, Yoonmyung Lee, Tao Li, Yogesh Gianchandani, David Blaauw, Sunil Kapila and Jeanne M. Nervina

Cleft lip and palate (CL/P) is the most prevalent craniofacial cleft type, appearing in 1 in 500-700 newborns. Alveolar bone graft surgery is just one of several surgeries CL/P patients undergo during infancy and childhood to correct the significant functional and esthetic deficits that result from clefting. Prior to this surgery, CL/P patients undergo rapid palatal expansion, which aligns the alveolar segments and provides sufficient space for the surgeon to place the bone graft. Conventional rapid palatal expanders (RPEs) are either tooth- or bone-borne and present obstacles to ideal treatment due to design constrictions. The goal of our proposed research is to design and fabricate a Smart Rapid Palatal Expander (S-RPE) that overcomes these obstacles. Our S-RPE has three key components: 1) The main mechanical frame that will apply stress to the palate by having a mechanical tensioning device, 2) A strain gage to measure the forces being applied by the tensioning device, 3) A microprocessor to read the strain gage measurement and store it in memory for wireless readout by an external device. The target of the S-RPE design is to significantly improve treatment outcomes of alveolar bone graft surgery and orthodontics in CL/P patients.

Updated 05/03/2012