SonixGPS from Ultrasonix Medical Corporation is an interesting technology that might make peripheral nerve blocks quicker and easier. By providing procedural ultrasound guidance, the technology will supposedly revolutionize the ability to visualize smaller gauge needles within tissue by using positional tracking data and overlaying this on the ultrasound image. In addition, users can target the needle tip destination inside the body, both in-plane and out-of-plane, by positioning the needle on the surface of the patient’s skin.
By utilizing electro-magnetic tracking technology, Ultrasonix has been able to embed sensors in the needle tips down to 20GA in size, and plans to go even smaller in the future. The current applications include vascular access, nerve blocks, and biopsy routines, with more to follow. Ultrasonix will be demonstrating this technology live at this year’s American Society of Anesthesiologists conference in Chicago. The technology currently has Health Canada approval, and will have FDA clearance before the end of 2011.