Scientists at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee have devised a new robotic steerable needle that can be used to remove blood clots from inoperable areas of the brain, which would relieve damage caused by the pressure of hemorrhaging.
According to researchers, the needle, which is about the size of those used in biopsies, can be placed through a small hole in the skull and steered efficiently to avoid vital brain tissue and reach the areas of bleeding.
The new needle could prevent a lot of “collateral damage” during brain surgery. More often than not, a doctor will administer medication to a patient as a means to by-pass surgery on the brain as a procedure runs the risk of causing serious damage to the person.
In simulations, the needle removed 92% of blood clots. “I think this can save a lot of lives. There are a tremendous number of intracerebral hemorrhages and the number is certain to increase as the population ages,” says Dr Kyle Weaver, professor of neurological surgery.
The project continues and aims to add “ultrasound imaging combined with a computer model of how brain tissue deforms to ensure that all of the desired clot material can be removed safely and effectively.”