The da Vinci robot has always been a source of fascination to us here at Medgadget, and we are happy to give it another glowing review – this time literally. A group of researchers at the University of Rochester have published their experience with the Da Vinci robot used in combination with indocyanine green (ICG) dye and a special near-infrared light source and camera that have been incorporated into the robot. The dye is given intravenously and, once the special camera is activated, it is much easier to identify blood vessels than when looking with plain white light. This imaging technique also is able to show some difference between malignant tissue and surrounding parenchyma, although this evidence is less conclusive (see abstract below).
Urology Times quoted the lead author, Scott Tobias, M.D. as saying, “Differentiating benign versus malignant tumors and performing regional lymph node mapping may also be achievable with this technology. There are many possibilities out there beyond what the naked eye can see.”
The near-infrared spectrum is utilized in other areas of medicine as well, specifically in measuring cerebral oxygenation levels through noninvasive emitters/detectors. Let’s hope that researchers can continue to see medical challenges “in a different light” as we strive towards less-invasive and more efficient diagnosis and treatment.
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Image credit: Chris Silvers