Internet of Things smart needle probes the brain during surgery

January 20, 2017 by Caleb Radford, The Lead
Professor Robert McLaughlin (right) with the smart needle. Credit: University of Adelaide

A "smart" needle with an embedded camera is helping doctors perform safer brain surgery.

The device was developed by researchers at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and uses a to identify at-risk blood vessels.

The probe, which is the size of a human hair, uses an infrared light to look through the brain.

It then uses the Internet of Things to send the information to a computer in real-time and alerts doctors of any abnormalities.

The project was a collaboration with the University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital where a six-month pilot trial of the smart needle was run.

Research leader and Chair of the University of Adelaide's Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Robert McLaughlin said researchers were also looking at other applications for the device including .

He said surgeons previously relied on scans taken prior to surgery to avoid hitting blood vessels but the smart needle was a more accurate method that highlighted their locations in real-time.

"There are about 256,000 cases of brain cancer a year and about 2.3 per cent of the time you can make a significant impact that could end in a stroke or death," he said.

"This (smart needle) would help that … it works sort of like an ultrasound but with light instead.

"It also has that takes the picture, analyses it and it can determine if what it is seeing is a blood vessel or tissue."

The trial at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital involved 12 patients who were undergoing craniotomies.

The needle with a 200-micron wide camera was successfully able to identify blood vessels during the surgery.

Professor Christopher Lind, who led the trial, said having a needle that could see as surgeons proceeded through the brain was a medical breakthrough.

Professor McLaughlin said the smart needle had potential to be used in other surgical procedures. Credit: University of Adelaide

"It will open the way for safer surgery, allowing us to do things we've not been able to do before," he said.

The smart needle will be ready for formal clinical trials in 2018.

Professor McLaughlin said he hoped manufacturing of the smart needle would begin within five years.

Explore further: Potential new tool to aid breast cancer surgery (Update)

Related Stories

Potential new tool to aid breast cancer surgery (Update)

November 30, 2016
University of Adelaide researchers have developed an optical fiber probe that distinguishes breast cancer tissue from normal tissue - potentially allowing surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer.

Can the brain feel it? The world's smallest extracellular needle-electrodes

October 25, 2016
A research team in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering and the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi University of Technology developed 5-μm-diameter ...

Scientists program robot for 'soft tissue' surgery

May 5, 2016
Not even the surest surgeon's hand is quite as steady and consistent as a robotic arm built of metal and plastic, programmed to perform the same motions over and over. So could it handle the slippery stuff of soft tissues ...

Needle guide improves catheterization of subclavian vein

September 1, 2015
(HealthDay)—A multi-angle needle guide can improve ultrasound-guided catheterization of the subclavian vein, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in Anaesthesia.

Anaesthetic technique important to prevent damage to brain

March 31, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered that a commonly used anaesthetic technique to reduce the blood pressure of patients undergoing surgery could increase the risk of starving the brain ...

Recommended for you

Bionic suit helps paralyzed patients stand and walk again

April 25, 2018
Patients undergoing physical rehabilitation at Rush for paralyzing injuries are being aided by a robotic suit designed to help raise people to full height and walk.

Johns Hopkins performs first total penis and scrotum transplant in the world

April 23, 2018
Many soldiers returning from combat bear visible scars, or even lost limbs, caused by blasts from improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. However, some servicemen also return with debilitating hidden injuries—the loss of ...

'Life support' for transplant livers better than freezing: study

April 18, 2018
Keeping transplant livers on "life support" at body temperature preserves them better than the prevailing method of near-freezing, and could reduce the number of donor organs thrown away, a study said Wednesday.

Study finds no evidence that anesthesia in young children lowers intelligence

April 18, 2018
A Mayo Clinic study finds no evidence that children given anesthesia before their third birthdays have lower IQs than those who did not have it. A more complex picture emerges among people who had anesthesia several times ...

Post-surgical opioids can, paradoxically, lead to chronic pain

April 16, 2018
Giving opioids to animals to quell pain after surgery prolongs pain for more than three weeks and primes specialized immune cells in the spinal cord to be more reactive to pain, according to a new study by the University ...

Evidence mounts that daily opioid users may fare worse after spine surgery, study finds

April 16, 2018
In a multicenter database study of adults who had undergone surgery for spinal deformities, researchers say that those who had used narcotics daily on average had worse outcomes, such as longer intensive care unit stays and ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BENRAS
not rated yet Jan 22, 2017
Identification of the actual dimension and location of the blood vessel might be processed so as to provide a haptic feedback to rhe operating surgeon.

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.