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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 673-686
Research Article

Initial Development of an Electronic Testis Rigidity Tester

1Centers for Surgical Anatomy and Technique, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
2Department of Electronics, Technological Institute of Athens, Greece

Received 22 September 2010; Revised 2 February 2011; Accepted 4 February 2011

Academic Editor: Anthony Atala

Copyright © 2011 Petros Mirilas and Odysseus Tsakiridis.


We aimed to develop our previously presented mechanical device, the Testis Rigidity Tester (TRT), into an electronic system (Electronic Testis Rigidity Tester, ETRT) by applying tactile imaging, which has been used successfully with other solid organs. A measuring device, located at the front end of the ETRT incorporates a tactile sensor comprising an array of microsensors. By application of a predetermined deformation of 2 mm, increased pressure alters linearly the resistance of each microsensor, producing changes of voltage. These signals were amplified, filtered, and digitized, and then processed by an electronic collector system, which presented them as a color-filled contour plot of the area of the testis coming into contact with the sensor. Testis models of different rigidity served for initial evaluation of ETRT; their evacuated central spaces contained different, increasing glue masses. An independent method of rigidity measurement, using an electric weight scale and a micrometer, showed that the more the glue injected, the greater the force needed for a 2-mm deformation. In a preliminary test, a single sensor connected to a multimeter showed similar force measurement for the same deformation in these phantoms. For each of the testis models compressed in the same manner, the ETRT system offered a map of pressures, represented by a color scale within the contour plot of the contact area with the sensor. ETRT found certain differences in rigidity between models that had escaped detection by a blind observer. ETRT is easy to use and provides a color-coded “insight“ of the testis internal structure. After experimental testing, it could be valuable in intraoperative evaluation of testes, so that the surgeon can decide about orchectomy or orcheopexy.