A team of researchers from the University of Adelaide have built a brain biopsy needle that allows neurosurgeons to see blood vessels, and so avoid damaging them. One of the most challenging and dangerous aspects of many brain surgeries is staying clear of the vasculature.
The researchers essentially fit a lens, a light source, and associated optics into biopsy needle, illuminating and visualizing what’s just ahead of the tip. The process of advancing the needle is more complicated than trying to subjectively notice color changes on a screen. The needle camera is actually connected to a computer that analyzes the video coming in in real-time, and warns the surgeon if it suspects there’s a vessel in the way.
So far the device has been tested in a pilot trial on 12 patients, but a wider use of the device in a proper clinical trial is expected about a year from now.
Here’s an informative video with the researchers behind the new video biopsy needle:
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