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Back Support for Surgeons

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Design Award

  • Tong Biomedical Design Award Honorable Mention

Project Overview

Surgeons commonly experience acute lower back pain due to being bent over at various angles for extended periods of time. Consistent fatigue in a surgeon’s back has the potential to affect their life-saving work. Our client, the father of a vascular surgeon, has tasked us with developing a device to alleviate his son’s lower back pain. The back brace designed this semester supports the upper torso with bungee cords and uses ABS plastic contoured to the back as the boom. The bungee cords produce the torque that is necessary to oppose the tension in the lower back muscles and provide the counter-moment about the hips to oppose the bending angle. Our team ran EMG testing and obtained quantitative data to show the effect the back support device has on the lumbar erector spinae muscles. Qualitatively the test subject reported less pain and fatigue in the bent over position while wearing the back brace with the pre-tension. Quantitatively, more trials would need to be conducted to produce more statistically significant data to determine whether our design was successful in relieving back muscle activation, and thus, fatigue and strain.

Team Picture

Team members from left to right: Molly Scott, Alec Hill, Michael Weiser, Liam Takahashi
Team members from left to right: Molly Scott, Alec Hill, Michael Weiser, Liam Takahashi

Contact Information

Team Members

  • Alec Hill, BME 301 - Team Leader
  • Molly Scott, BME 301 - Communicator & BWIG
  • Michael Weiser, BME 301 - BSAC
  • Liam Takahashi, BME 301 - BPAG

Advisor and Client

  • Prof. Chris Brace - Advisor
  • Dr. Robert Radwin - Client

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