Images reveal potential for NIR imaging to detect success of breast reconstruction

September 25, 2012, IM Publications

In 2010 breast reconstruction entered the Top Five list of reconstructive procedures in the US, with 93,000 procedures performed, up 8% from 2009, and 18% from 2000. This is among the most common skin flap procedure performed.

Skin flaps are typically used to cover areas of tissue loss or defects that arise as a result of , reconstruction after cancer excision and repair of . In the case of a mastectomy—the surgical removal of the breast—skin flaps are commonly used to create a new breast. Most commonly these flaps are derived from the woman's own abdominal tissue, which is removed and transplanted to the breast area where it is formed to take on the shape and appearance of an actual breast (this is called the flap).

Skin flaps are complex procedures that require post-operative monitoring to ensure that they do not fail. Most failures arise from circulatory complications where either the arterial blood supply to the flap is blocked or insufficient to support the flap tissue or venous drainage of the flap is compromised.

Near infrared (NIR) is a convenient, non- for surgeons to examine flaps during surgery and in the early post-operative period. The NIR technique can be used to detect and localise blood supply-related complications as well as give real-time feedback to the surgeon as they try to resolve the complication.

In a paper* published in JNIRS—Journal of , Dr Mike Sowa and his team at the National Research Council Canada report pre-clinical results showing the potential of NIR spectral imaging for intra-operative skin flap assessment.

"We also show that using estimates of tissue haemoglobin , imaging measurements made during surgery and in the early post-operative period are highly predictive of the outcome of the flap tissue with specificities and sensitivities exceeding 85%", Dr Sowa stated.

Oxygenation imaging immediately after surgery shows good predictive power for tissue necrosis. The prediction accuracy of the oxygen saturation parameter improves as measurements are made later in the post-operative period and becomes an excellent predictor of outcome when measurements are made one or two hours after the surgery. This method is highly capable of predicting the fate of flap tissues.

Dr Sowa's paper is just one of 11 papers in the current, special issue of JNIRS—Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy dedicated to NIR imaging. The issue is essential reading for anyone who needs a picture of what is inside something without destroying it.

Guest Editor of the special issue, Professor Marena Manley, said the advantages of NIR imaging are substantial and include low cost analysis per sample, more rapid analysis and the ability to operate in a number of in-field or on-line/at-line environments; hence leading to savings in laboratory cost and gains in product value.

Explore further: Breast cancer surgery preserves artery for future heart surgery

More information: Michael G. Sowa, Jeri R. Friesen, Michelle Levasseur, Bernhard Schattka, Leif Sigurdson and Thomas Hayakawa, "The utility of near infrared imaging in intra-operative prediction of flap outcome: a reverse McFarlane skin flap model study", J. Near Infrared Spectrosc. 20(5), 601 (2012), doi: dx.doi.org/10.1255/jnirs.1007

Related Stories

Breast cancer surgery preserves artery for future heart surgery

October 18, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Doctors at Johns Hopkins have shown that during an increasingly popular type of breast-reconstruction surgery, they can safely preserve the internal mammary artery, in case it is needed for future cardiac ...

Breast cancer patients needed for trial to assess imaging technique for mastectomies

October 25, 2011
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine are recruiting women with breast cancer to test whether a technique to image tissue blood flow could help reduce complications after mastectomy surgery.

Recommended for you

Boosting cancer therapy with cross-dressed immune cells

January 22, 2018
Researchers at EPFL have created artificial molecules that can help the immune system to recognize and attack cancer tumors. The study is published in Nature Methods.

Workouts may boost life span after breast cancer

January 22, 2018
(HealthDay)—Longer survival after breast cancer may be as simple as staying fit, new research shows.

Cancer patients who tell their life story find more peace, less depression

January 22, 2018
Fifteen years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Meg Wise began interviewing cancer patients nearing the end of life about how they were living with their diagnosis. She was surprised to find that many asked ...

Single blood test screens for eight cancer types

January 18, 2018
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers developed a single blood test that screens for eight common cancer types and helps identify the location of the cancer.

Researchers find a way to 'starve' cancer

January 18, 2018
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to starve a tumor and stop its growth with a newly discovered small compound that blocks uptake of the vital ...

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.