Helping make brain surgery safer

19 December 2018:

Researchers from CNBP and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, together with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and University of Western Australia collaborators, have demonstrated  the potential of an ‘imaging needle’ for reducing the risk of dangerous brain bleeds in patients undergoing brain biopsy. In the journal Science Advances, the researchers describe how a tiny imaging needle can detect blood vessels with a very high degree of accuracy (91.2% sensitivity and 97.7% specificity). Pictured is corresponding author of the paper CNBP Investigator Prof Robert McLaughlin, University of Adelaide.

Journal: Science Advances.

Publication title: Intraoperative detection of blood vessels with an imaging needle during neurosurgery in humans.

Authors: Hari Ramakonar, Bryden C. Quirk, Rodney W. Kirk, Jiawen Li, Angela Jacques, Christopher R. P. Lind and Robert A. McLaughlin.

Abstract: Intracranial hemorrhage can be a devastating complication associated with needle biopsies of the brain. Hemorrhage can occur to vessels located adjacent to the biopsy needle as tissue is aspirated into the needle and removed. No intraoperative technology exists to reliably identify blood vessels that are at risk of damage. To address this problem, we developed an “imaging needle” that can visualize nearby blood vessels in real time. The imaging needle contains a miniaturized optical coherence tomography probe that allows differentiation of blood flow and tissue. In 11 patients, we were able to intraoperatively detect blood vessels (diameter, >500 μm) with a sensitivity of 91.2% and a specificity of 97.7%. This is the first reported use of an optical coherence tomography needle probe in human brain in vivo. These results suggest that imaging needles may serve as a valuable tool in a range of neurosurgical needle interventions.