Design of a wound protector/retractor for thyroid surgery

Project Overview

Because of the risks of scarring, smaller incisions are being used in thyroid surgery. These small incisions still require retractors to keep the site visible, but most traditional retractors are incompatible with the smaller incisions. The currently used metal retractors distribute pressure unevenly across the incision site, which can cause ischemic trauma to the local tissues. On the other hand, our client tested round, flexible wound retractors used for abdominal surgery, and requests a similar device for thyroid surgery. The goal is to construct a device that is precise, provides a comfortable fit, and is capable of evenly distributing pressure across the site of incision.


Team picture

From left: Armand Grabowski, Naomi Humpal, Molly Krohn, Kimberly Maciolek

testing picture 1

Tissue Testing in chicken, from left to right; revised Alexis® with polyurethane tube, revised Alexis® with nitrile tube, large metal spring retractor.

Floral Foam Testing

Testing in Floral Foam. From back to front: Large metal spring retractor, small metal spring retractor, revised Alexis® with polyurethane tubing, revised Alexis® with nitrile tubing.


Project Files

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Molly Krohn - Team Leader
  • Kimberly Maciolek - Communicator
  • Armand Grabowski - BSAC
  • Naomi Humpal - BWIG

Advisor and Client

  • Mitch Tyler - Advisor
  • David Yu Greenblatt, MD, MSPH - Client