Placing the needle inside the epidural space for locoregional anesthesia is a challenging procedure, which even today is left to the expertise of the operator. Recently, we have demonstrated that the use of optically sensorized needles significantly improves the effectiveness of this procedure. Here, we propose an optimized configuration, where the optical fiber strain sensor is directly integrated inside the epidural catheter. The new design allows the solving of the biocompatibility issues and increases the versatility of the former configuration. Through an in vivo study carried out on a porcine model, we confirm the reliability of our approach, which also opens the way to catheter monitoring during insertion inside biological spaces.
Keywords: clinical applications; fiber Bragg gratings; fiber optics sensors; medical optics instrumentation.