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Menorrhagia (abnormally heavy and prolonged menstrual period) is a condition suffered by many women; these women have menstrual flow greater than 80 mL per cycle compared to the average 30 mL for normal cycles. The area of the uterus responsible for menorrhagia is the regenerative basal layer of the endometrium (inner uterine layer). In order to relieve menorrhagia, the endometrium needs to be destroyed through the basal layer. This project looks to address issues which patients face with current standard menorrhagia treatments, such as invasiveness, intense pain, or incomplete treatment of the uterine wall, by developing a superior remedy.
The plan is to develop a free flowing cryo-fluid treatment technology to selectively freeze and destroy the endometrium down to the basal layer. A key driver of a cryo-based system is that the anesthetic properties of cold should make the treatment less painful than currently practiced thermal ablations and reduce the need for radical hysterectomy as a menorrhagia treatment.
The approach to complete the design is a multi-step process beginning with identification of a model system to represent the female uterus. The design team is working with OB/GYN staff at the VCU Medical Center to mold a model out of Perma-Gel, a synthetic ballistics gel, which will represent the smooth muscle wall of the uterus. The cryogenic fluid will be circulated inside our model, while monitoring temperatures of various locations inside the uterus and at different penetration depths and flow rates inside the model. These are the process variables required to be known for an accurate estimate of cell death in the system.
The end goal is a proof of the concept using a model system that will lead to further research and exploration into a cost efficient, relatively painless procedure that can be performed in a doctor’s office rather than a hospital/surgical setting.
chemical and life science engineering, menorrhagia
Chemical Engineering | Engineering
Frank B. Gupton
VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters
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