We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us

Download Mobile App

Photoacoustic Imaging Creates Detailed Images for Preventing Nerve Damage during Surgery

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 07 Sep 2023
Print article
Image: Experimental setup for in vivo photoacoustic imaging (Photo courtesy of SPIE)
Image: Experimental setup for in vivo photoacoustic imaging (Photo courtesy of SPIE)

Invasive medical procedures, often involving local anesthesia, carry a risk of nerve injury. Surgeons may inadvertently damage nerves during surgery by cutting, stretching, or compressing them, leading to lasting sensory and motor issues in patients. Similarly, patients receiving nerve blockades or other anesthesia can suffer nerve damage if the needle isn't precisely placed near the targeted peripheral nerve. To mitigate this risk, researchers are working on medical imaging techniques. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help surgeons locate nerves during a procedure. However, it's challenging to distinguish nerves from surrounding tissue in ultrasound images, and MRI is costly and time-consuming.

A promising alternative approach is multispectral photoacoustic imaging, a noninvasive technique that combines light and sound waves to create detailed body tissue and structure images. It involves illuminating the target area with pulsed light, causing slight heating and tissue expansion. This generates ultrasonic waves detected by an ultrasound detector. A research team from Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD, USA) conducted a study characterizing the absorption and photoacoustic profiles of nerve tissue across the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum. They aimed to identify the ideal wavelengths for nerve tissue visualization in photoacoustic images, focusing on the NIR-III optical window (1630–1850 nm). Nerve myelin sheaths contain lipids with a characteristic absorption peak in this range.

Their experiments on peripheral nerve samples from swine revealed an absorption peak at 1210 nm, falling in the NIR-II range but also present in other lipids. However, when water contribution was subtracted, nerve tissue showed a unique peak at 1725 nm in the NIR-III range. Photoacoustic measurements on live swine's peripheral nerves using custom imaging confirmed that the NIR-III band peak effectively distinguishes lipid-rich nerve tissue from others containing water or lacking lipids. These findings may encourage further exploration of photoacoustic imaging's potential and enhance nerve detection and segmentation techniques in other optical imaging methods.

“Our work is the first to characterize the optical absorbance spectra of fresh swine nerve samples using a wide spectrum of wavelengths, as well as the first to demonstrate in-vivo visualization of healthy and regenerated swine nerves with multispectral photoacoustic imaging in the NIR-III window,” said Dr. Muyinatu A. Lediju Bell who led the research team. “Our results highlight the clinical promise of multispectral photoacoustic imaging as an intraoperative technique for determining the presence of myelinated nerves or preventing nerve injury during medical interventions, with possible implications for other optics-based technologies. Our contributions thus successfully establish a new scientific foundation for the biomedical optics community.”

Related Links:
Johns Hopkins University 

Gold Supplier
IMRT Thorax Phantom
CIRS Model 002LFC
Gold Supplier
128 Slice CT Scanner
Supria 128
Ultrasound Doppler System
Diagnostic Ultrasound System
DRE Crystal 4P

Print article
Sun Nuclear -    Mirion



view channel
Image: The AI model improves tumor removal accuracy during breast cancer surgery (Photo courtesy of UNC School of Medicine)

AI Model Analyzes Tumors Removed Surgically in Real-Time

During breast cancer surgery, the surgeon removes the tumor, also known as a specimen, along with a bit of the adjacent healthy tissue to ensure all cancerous cells are excised. This specimen is then X-rayed... Read more


view channel
Image: MRI screen-detected breast cancers have been found to be most often invasive cancers (Photo courtesy of 123RF)

MRI Screen-Detected Breast Cancers Are Mostly Invasive

Annual breast MRI screening is advised for patients with a lifetime breast cancer risk exceeding 20%. There exists robust data about the features of mammographic screen-detected breast cancers, although... Read more

Nuclear Medicine

view channel
Image: An AI model can evaluate brain tumors on PET (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

AI Model for PET Imaging Determines Patient Response to Brain Tumor Treatments

The assessment of changes in metabolic tumor volume (MTV) through PET scans using specific radiotracers like F-18 fluoroethyl tyrosine (FET) plays a vital role in evaluating the treatment response in patients... Read more

General/Advanced Imaging

view channel
Image: Annalise Enterprise CTB acts like a ‘second pair of eyes’ for radiologists (Photo courtesy of Annalise.ai)

Deep Learning System Boosts Radiologist Accuracy and Speed for Head CTs

Non-contrast computed tomography of the brain (NCCTB) is a commonly employed method for identifying intracranial pathology. Despite its frequent use, the complex scan outcomes are prone to being misunderstood.... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel
Image: The new Medical Imaging Suite makes healthcare imaging data more accessible, interoperable and useful (Photo courtesy of Google Cloud)

New Google Cloud Medical Imaging Suite Makes Imaging Healthcare Data More Accessible

Medical imaging is a critical tool used to diagnose patients, and there are billions of medical images scanned globally each year. Imaging data accounts for about 90% of all healthcare data1 and, until... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2023 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.