Reducing temperature elevation of robotic bone drilling

Feldmann, Arne Niklas; Wandel, Jasmin; Zysset, Philippe (2016). Reducing temperature elevation of robotic bone drilling. Medical engineering & physics, 38(12), pp. 1495-1504. Elsevier 10.1016/j.medengphy.2016.10.001

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This research work aims at reducing temperature elevation of bone drilling. An extensive experimental study was conducted which focused on the investigation of three main measures to reduce the temperature elevation as used in industry: irrigation, interval drilling and drill bit designs. Different external irrigation rates (0 ml/min, 15 ml/min, 30 ml/min), continuously drilled interval lengths (2 mm, 1 mm, 0.5 mm) as well as two drill bit designs were tested. A custom single flute drill bit was designed with a higher rake angle and smaller chisel edge to generate less heat compared to a standard surgical drill bit. A new experimental setup was developed to measure drilling forces and torques as well as the 2D temperature field at any depth using a high resolution thermal camera. The results show that external irrigation is a main factor to reduce temperature elevation due not primarily to its effect on cooling but rather due to the prevention of drill bit clogging. During drilling, the build up of bone material in the drill bit flutes result in excessive temperatures due to an increase in thrust forces and torques. Drilling in intervals allows the removal of bone chips and cleaning of flutes when the drill bit is extracted as
well as cooling of the bone in-between intervals which limits the accumulation of heat. However, reducing the length of the drilled interval was found only to be beneficial for temperature reduction using the newly designed drill bit due to the improved cutting geometry. To evaluate possible tissue damage caused by the generated heat increase, cumulative equivalent minutes (CEM43) were calculated and it was found that the combination of small interval length (0.5 mm), high irrigation rate (30 ml/min) and the newly designed drill bit was the only parameter combination which allowed drilling below the time-thermal threshold for tissue damage. In conclusion, an optimized drilling method has been found which might also enable drilling in more delicate procedures such as that performed during minimally invasive robotic cochlear implantation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute for Surgical Technology & Biomechanics ISTB [discontinued]
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Mathematics and Statistics > Institute of Mathematical Statistics and Actuarial Science

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences (GCB)

UniBE Contributor:

Feldmann, Arne Niklas; Wandel, Jasmin and Zysset, Philippe


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services
500 Science > 510 Mathematics










Arne Niklas Feldmann

Date Deposited:

04 Jan 2017 15:02

Last Modified:

04 Jan 2017 15:02

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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