A group of researchers from Queen Mary University of London has successfully tested a new instrument for visualizing the state of living tissues in low invasive operations. They differ in that the surgeon cannot literally look into the part of the body that he is operating on. This is done to minimize the impact on the patient's body, but the doctor still needs to somehow navigate inside the body.
Previous methods were limited to plotting the area of work prior to surgery and using ultrasound probes during it. A new technology, an optical ultrasonic needle, allows you to "look" into living tissue at any time, with high resolution and minimal impact on living cells. It has already been successfully tested in pigs.
The instrument consists of an optical fiber that is inserted into a surgical needle and connected to an ultrasonic pulse generator. The doctor inserts a needle into the body, making a tiny puncture, the surrounding tissue is illuminated with a series of high-frequency pulses, the reflected signal is received by a sensor on the second optical fiber. The picture is built in real time, the resolution of the instrument reaches 64 microns, which is identical to the size of only 9 red blood cells.
With such accuracy and speed of work, the doctor sees everything that happens in the area of interest to him, from the structure of specific living tissues to the appearance of neoplasms there. And he can carry out the operation not at random, but knowing exactly what and in what place needs to be done. The prospects for the new technology are very promising and the development team is now preparing to conduct the first clinical trials in humans.