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IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2009 Sep;56(9):2244-52. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2008.2009542. Epub 2008 Dec 2.

Ferromagnetization of target tissues by interstitial injection of ferrofluid: formulation and evidence of efficacy for magnetic retraction.

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  • 1Institute for Medical Science and Technology, School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics, University of Dundee, Dundee DD2 1FD, UK.


During curative cancer surgery, magnetic retraction could offer advantages over retraction by graspers because of reduced tissue trauma and with the potential for noncontact retraction. To realize magnetic retraction, magnetic fluid was injected into harvested porcine stomachs and an external permanent magnet was used to retract the ferromagnetized tissue. The magnetic forces of four ferrofluids were measured. The results of these experiments showed that iron-oxide-nanoparticle-based ferrofluids do not provide the required retraction force. However, sufficient retraction force is obtained by ferromagnetic microparticles fluids (stainless steel 410, denoted MP-SS410) by virtue of their high magnetization and saturation. In ex vivo surgical retraction experiments, MP-SS410 powder was dispersed in phosphate-buffered saline and other fluids. These ferrofluids were injected into the submucosal layer of harvested porcine stomachs at different concentrations and volumes. The inoculum generated a magnetic retraction force linearly proportional to the concentration and injected volume. Ex vivo surgical retraction, and dissection and resection were possible with a simple magnetic probe. The results of this study indicate that ferromagnetization of tissue can be used to facilitate localized tissue retraction and resection.

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