A team of researchers and clinicians led by the University of Adelaide in South Australia has found that an “imaging needle” may reduce the risk of dangerous brain bleeds in patients undergoing brain biopsy.
Published today in the journal Science Advances, the study describes how they fashioned the imaging device with a tiny fiber-optic camera encased within a brain biopsy needle. The imaging needle can detect blood vessels with a very high degree of accuracy (91.2% sensitivity and 97.7% specificity), according to a report that appeared in The Line South Australia.
The imaging needle lets surgeons “see” at-risk blood vessels as they insert the needle, allowing them to avoid causing potentially fatal brain bleeds, according to Robert McLaughlin, chair of biophotonics at the University of Adelaide’s Medical School. The size of a human hair, the fiber-optic camera shines infrared light onto the brain tissue and the computer system behind the needle identifies the blood vessel and alerts the surgeon.
The imaging needle has undergone an initial validation with 11 patients at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, a collaborator on the project.
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