Purpose: To determine the ability of a novel palpation device to differentiate between benign and malignant tissues of the kidney and bladder by measuring tissue elasticity. Materials and Methods: A novel palpation device was developed, mainly composed of a micromotor, a linear position sensor, a force transducer, and a hemisphere tip and cylindrical body probe. Motion calibration as well as performance validation was done. The tissue elasticity of both benign and malignant tissues of the kidney and bladder was measured using this device. A single investigator performed the ex-vivo palpation experiment in twelve kidneys and four bladder specimens. Malignant tissues were made available from partial nephrectomy specimens and radical cystectomy specimens. Palpations for benign renal parenchyma tissue were carried out on nephroureterectomy specimens while non-involved areas in the radical cystectomy specimens were used for benign bladder samples. Elastic modulus (Young's modulus) of tissues was estimated using the Hertz-Sneddon equation from the experimental results. These were then compared using a t-test for independent samples. Results: Renal cell carcinoma tissues appear to be softer than normal kidney tissues, whereas tissues from urothelial carcinoma of the bladder appear to be harder than normal bladder tissues. The results from renal cell carcinoma differed significantly from those of normal kidney tissues (p=0.002), as did urothelial carcinoma of the bladder from normal bladder tissues (p=0.003). Conclusion: Our novel palpation device can potentially differentiate between malignant and benign kidney and bladder tissues. Further studies are necessary to verify our results and define its true clinical utility.
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