In this article we present a finite element simulation of an active steerable surgical needle. The highly maneuverable actuated needle can be utilized in many cases involving diagnostic and therapeutic percutaneous procedures; for example, in prostate brachytherapy. To make the surgical needle able to navigate through the tissue accurately, avoiding sensitive organs, external bending forces are being provided by smart actuators attached to the needle body (see Fig. 1). The shape memory alloy (SMA) wires, namely Nitinol, with unique properties of super-elasticity, shape memory effect, and biocompatibility are suitable as an actuator. The attached SMA wires contract when heated due to the phase transformation and therefore bends the needle. A 3D finite element (FE) model of the SMA actuated steerable needle was developed and validated by a prototype to show the feasibility of the design and also to study the factors influencing needle deflection.

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