New technology enables doctors to see up to 20 centimeters through tissue and track medical tools.
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Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University have invented the first camera that’s capable of seeing through the human body to spot individual photons emanating from fibre optic instruments. Although it will have multiple uses, one of the most common ones will be to track medical tools used to investigate a wide range of internal conditions, known as endoscopes.
Typically, endoscopes rely on X-rays to confirm the location of an invasive probe as it moves through the digestive track, but X-rays do disrupt the procedure itself and also have a small risk to the patient. In experiments, the camera has shown that it can track the location of a point of light through 20 centimeters of tissue under normal light conditions. “The ability to see a device’s location is crucial for many applications in healthcare, as we move forwards with minimally invasive approaches to treating disease”, says Kev Dhaliwal, Professor of Molecular Imaging and Healthcare Technology at the University of Edinburgh.
Other recent medical advancements include a surgical tool that dissolves the blood clots that cause deep vein thrombosis and a bio-glue that’s been inspired by slug mucus. Can you think of any other uses for this camera technology?