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Surgical instrument system targets where surgeons should operate

News Release — 9 September 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Herb Booth, (817) 272-7075, hbooth@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - An image-guided surgical instrument system that pinpoints where to cut on patients who have scar tissue or other conditions has the chance to revolutionize surgical procedures.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington's College of Engineering are developing the Multifunctional, Image Guided Surgical (MIGS) platform. The MIGS platform integrates a high resolution, depth-resolved optical imaging system, a laser scalpel, a miniature multi‐axis translation system, software to work the system and a control system on a single platform.

Digant Davé, assistant professor in bioengineering, is leading the team and has secured two grants totaling $614,000 from the National Institutes of Health to complete his development of the MIGS platform.

"Imagine a joystick with which the surgeon can position the imager and scalpel at the right location to see buried tissue layers and perform surgery," Davé said.

Many times, patients who have had previous surgeries, radiation treatments, tumors or inflammation have adhesion between different tissues, leaving surgeons without the normal tissue plane guidance they rely upon to identify various organs. This makes surgery for these patients risky. The MIGS platform enables the surgeon to see things in the body more clearly.

Davé said sometimes surgery hasn't been done because of the adhesions, leaving some disease processes untreated.

"This technology will enable us to see through scar tissue and identify critical regions between delicate structures, then enable us to use a very fine laser to cut through," said Dr. Edward Livingston, professor and chief of gastrointestinal and endocrine surgery at UT Southwestern and professor of biomedical engineering.  "This will be a major leap that will allow us to do very complex surgery."
 

Davé said the completed MIGS platform will require the development of a compact and robust 3D optical imaging probe and the integration of a fiber laser scalpel with the imaging probe for precision tissue cutting. Davé expects to complete the platform within the two-year period covered by the funding grants.

The project will be conducted at UT Arlington's Optical Medical Imaging Laboratories located in the Advanced Imaging Research Center at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Besides Dr. Livingston, UT Arlington Bioengineering Professor Liping Tang and Virginia Tech Professor Shashank Priya are collaborating with Dave.

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