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Graphic shows how the new keyhole surgical device works.


Surgical instrument inspired by parasitic wasp ovipositor

By Ninian Carter

August 3, 2021 - Scientists in the Netherlands have developed a prototype surgical tool for keyhole surgery, based on egg-laying methods of parasitic wasps.

A surgical tool that mimics the egg-laying organ of parasitic wasps could be used to remove tumours and blood clots.

Researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands have based their prototype on an ovipositor — the long needle-like tube that protrudes from the abdomen of some parasitic wasps.

The insects use their ovipositors to deposit eggs under the skin or exoskeleton of unsuspecting hosts. After a short gestational period, the larvae hatch and begin consuming their host, eating them from the inside out.

Current surgical devices for removing cancerous tissues, or other matter that needs extracting, use suction which can lead to frequent clogging of the instrument.

Instead, the prototype tool uses the mechanical design of the wasp ovipositor – a friction-based solution that sees segments of a tiny metal tube, no thicker than a matchstick, move up and down at different times to carry tissue away.

It could also be used for internal radiotherapy, whereby a small amount of radioactive material is inserted into a specific part of the body for targeted treatment of cancer.

Scientists hope to have the new tool ready for use in a few years, opening the door to treating diseases currently not treatable and reachable with existing equipment

PUBLISHED: 04/08/2021; STORY: Graphic News