At the 62nd annual meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), currently underway in New Orleans, Dr. Steven F. Palter has won First Prize for Technical Achievement in Video for his study of a new laparoscopic technology that can be used to diagnose endometriosis. Steven also runs Docinthemachine site.
Here’s how he describes the system:
A specialized laparoscopy system was designed based upon the same general principle as fluorescence spectroscopy. In contrast to reflection, where light bounces unchanged off of a surface structure, in fluorescence the light is absorbed and then released at a different wavelength (color). When certain tissues are illuminated with light energy from short wavelength (380 – 430 nm) light, the absorbed energy is emitted as light at a longer wavelength (475-800 nm) and is observed as fluorescent light of a different color. The fluorescent light can be observed using special optical filters designed to block the background light and allow the fluorescent light to be viewed.
This fluorescence occurs in the same fashion during illumination with ordinary white light but becomes lost and invisible due to the much brighter illuminating white light. This system allows the selective visualization of the low intensity autofluorescent signals by filtering out the other bright light wavelengths that are in white light. No additional wavelengths of light are used.
Tissues illuminated with regular light emit a small amount of differently colored fluorescent light which is often not seen since the overall illuminating white light is so much brighter. By applying specific filters to the illumination light the amount of fluorescent light emitted can be maximized. By using observation filters, the large amount of illuminating light can be filtered out and the small amount of colored fluorescent light made to stand out and be more easily seen. Since connective tissues and surface epithelia have background autofluorescence (AF), pathologic lesions that grow on the surface of an epithelial layer (such as the peritoneum) may stand out compared with normal tissue when viewed in this manner by having a different light pattern than the normal tissue.
From the press release:
The system, manufactured by Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, is based on technology that has previously been used to detect lung cancer. This study represents its first use for laparoscopic examination of the pelvic and abdominal cavities in the US. It is not yet approved for general use in the US.