2016-2019 PhD: Design of a training simulator for epidural insertion practice

PhD supervision

Student: Thibaut SENAC

Titre français: développement d'un simulateur d'apprentissage d'un geste d'anesthésiste : la péridurale,

Keywords:: Haptics, Simulation, Hands-on Training, Pneumatic Control

Research project: PERISIM

PhD Director Laurent KRAHENBUHL (École Centrale de Lyon)
Supervisors Richard MOREAU (INSA Lyon) and Arnaud LELEVE

Period: started in September 2016, to be defended in 2019

Financed by Ecole Doctorale EEA Lyon

Summary: Context  : the training of epidural procedure requires numerous trials before being mastered: the success rate is about 80% after 90 attempts, which is not sufficient to perform the gesture on a patient. Yet, the medical students do not have so many opportunities to train on this gesture. Moreover, manikins, animals and cadavers are not sufficiently realistic to train oneself effectively.
The objective of this PhD work is to design an haptic simulator reproducing the "Loss of Resistance" (LOR) mechanism which helps the anesthetist to know whether the needle is arrived at the rigth place (i.e. epidural space) before injecting some anesthetics or realizing a biopsy.
Method : we will control simultaneously an haptic interface which will guide the needle, considering a fictive patient parameters, to reproduce the needle insertion, and also a pneumatic cylinder which will reproduce the feelings provided by the LOR syringe. Various control laws will be tested (position and stiffness backstepping, sliding mode, hybrid system, ...) in order to reproduce the real operation as faithfully as possible.


  • Thibaut Senac, Arnaud Lelevé, Richard Moreau. Control laws for pneumatic cylinder in order to emulate the Loss Of Resistance principle. IFAC 2017 World Congress, Jul 2017, Toulouse, France. IFAC, 2017, Proc. of the 20th World Congress of the International Federation of Automatic Control. hal-01506823