New smart needle aims to make brain surgery safer

Brain surgery has to be one of the most stressful experiences a human can undergo, so any attempts to make it safer have to be cherished.  A recent project by researchers from the University of Adelaide is therefore particularly interesting.

They’ve developed a tiny imaging probe that is encased within a brain biopsy needle.  The device is designed to give surgeons the ability to see potentially risky bloody vessels and thus avoid potentially catastrophic bleeds during surgery.

“We call it a smart needle. It contains a tiny fibre-optic camera, the size of a human hair, shining infrared light to see the vessels before the needle can damage them,” the researchers say.  “And what’s really exciting is the computer smarts behind this so that the computer itself recognises the blood vessel and alerts the surgeon.”

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