Mike Allen


This thesis presents the design and development of a skull mounted retractor system for neurosurgical applications. It was hypothesized that a low profile retractor platform could be developed with a multi-point skull mount and a surrounding attached perimeter to better meet the needs of surgeons when invasive retraction is required. Attachment points adjoined around the edge of the craniotomy did not require additional drilling and were intended to provide a more stable, low profile, non-cluttered platform from which spatulas or flexible arms could easily leverage lobe retraction. This improved system is expected to improve operating times and reduce incidence rates of post-operative complications from overzealous or negligent retraction.

It was concluded that the skull mounted retractor system provided no significant displacement while forces that simulated accidental movement during surgery were applied. A statistically significant difference was confirmed for the stability of the retractor depending on mounting orientation but from a practical standpoint was not enough to cause damage to the brain. The retractor system can accommodate the majority of skull variations and operations as adjustable features allow attachment to craniotomy diameters of over 100 mm and cranial thicknesses of up to 9 mm. This retractor method still requires additional development to improve setup times for frontotemporal craniotomies but depending on the location of the lesion it could be a suitable improvement for the retraction used during treatment of a wide variety of pathologies.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Brain--Surgery--Instruments--Design and construction; Retractors (Surgery)--Design and construction

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Manufacturing and Mechanical Systems Integration (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology (CET)


Robert Garrick

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Olles

Advisor/Committee Member

Richard Doolittle


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes