Surgical Drilling: Design and Performance of an Improved Drill

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Saha, S. Pal, J. A. Albright

Biomechanics Laboratory, Louisiana State University Medical Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Shreveport, La. 71130

J Biomech Eng 104(3), 245-252 (Aug 01, 1982) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3138356 History: Received July 20, 1981; Revised April 16, 1982; Online June 15, 2009


The majority of twist drills used in orthopaedics are very similar to chisel pointed metal drilling bits. Modifications usually observed are reduction of the point angle to 90 deg and sometimes grinding of the entire cutting lip at 0 deg rake angle, which appeared to have been made arbitrarily without any advantage. We have attempted to design a surgical drill bit with the objective of minimization of the drilling thrust and temperature and effective removal of bone chips. Our results showed that the presence of the chisel edge was mainly responsible for increasing the thrust force and the temperature developed. The effects of a constant feed rate and thrust on the peak temperature were also examined. The combined effect of the helix and the point angles on the rake angle which in turn determines the cutting efficiency was analyzed for various types of surgical bits. Based on our results and previously published data from the literature an optimized drill bit was designed with a split point, a point angle of 118 deg, a parabolic flute, and a helix angle of 36 deg and its performance was compared with other existing surgical drill bits. For drilling in compact bone, the new design decreased the thrust load by 45 percent and the peak temperature rise by 41 percent. Simlar improvements were also recorded for drilling bone cement. The time of drilling a bone cortex was also significantly reduced and “walking” on the curved bone surface was eliminated and dimensional tolerance on hole sizes was improved. The new design is likely to reduce the time of surgery and also minimize the tissue damage.

Copyright © 1982 by ASME
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