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Cyst blaster: minimally invasive device to remove baker cysts

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To relieve pain by removing a Baker cyst about the knee via an ultrasound-guided minimally invasive device.

Project Overview

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form throughout the body due to a buildup of biological material. Baker's cysts, also known as popliteal cysts, are found behind the knee joint in about 5% of U.S. adults [1]. They can be painful and are commonly caused by osteoarthritis, meniscus tears, and other tissue damage, in which inflammation causes synovial fluid production to increase and spread to the bursa [2]. One common minimally invasive approach taken for Baker's cyst removal involves aspiration to remove fluid within the sac, however, this procedure is highly ineffective, with cyst recurrence rates nearing 70% [5]. The other common removal method involves a surgical cystectomy, in which the surgeon physically resects the cyst wall. While this method does reduce recurrence rates, it requires longer surgery times, larger incisions, greater cost, and longer inpatient hospital stays [7,8,9]. Tackling this problem, the team is developing a device compatible with minimally invasive outpatient procedures that more effectively prevents the recurrence of Baker's cysts. To do so, a device was designed that punctures, suctions and damages the cyst wall in numerous locations through perforations within a dual-needle system. A scaled-up version of the device will be fabricated to serve as a proof of concept, and several tests will be performed: fenestration capabilities will be tested on a biological model, recurrence rates will be compared to those of the current technique, and physician rated maneuverability scores will be evaluated for statistical differences between the current approach. With a more effective device, Baker's cyst recurrence will become much less prevalent, thereby improving patient outcomes and overall quality of life.

Team Picture

Top (left to right): Srihari Gopalan, Zach Spears, Logan De Lacy, Bottom (left to right): Molly Paras, Lauren Fitzsimmons, Peter Wawrzyn
Top (left to right): Srihari Gopalan, Zach Spears, Logan De Lacy, Bottom (left to right): Molly Paras, Lauren Fitzsimmons, Peter Wawrzyn

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Molly Paras - Co-Team Leader
  • Zach Spears - Co-Team Leader
  • Peter Wawrzyn - Communicator
  • Srihari Gopalan - BSAC
  • Lauren Fitzsimmons - BWIG
  • Logan De Lacy - BPAG
  • Vang Xeng

Advisor and Client

  • Prof. Sarah Sandock - Advisor
  • Dr. Ken Lee - Client

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