Faculty Advisor

Gaudette, Glenn R


Current skin biopsy techniques utilizing a punch biopsy device can leave raised scars. With 3.8 million procedures per year, the potential marketability of a superior device is substantial. The goal of this project is to design an elliptical biopsy punch that is easy to use and minimizes scarring. Mechanical testing on porcine skin determined the force required to breach the skin using a #11 scalpel, a circular punch, and a novel blade design. The force required to penetrate the skin using the prototype was 17 lbs versus 4.3 lbs for the rotational punch. Initial force data has resulted in a final blade design that requires less force and includes fail-safes to prevent excessive depth penetration. The resulting wound has clean edges and is of proper dimensions for superior suturing layout.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2009


Biomedical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biomedical Engineering