Smart Scalpel Can Detect Cancerous Tumors, Making Risky Brain Surgery Safer

By: | April 18th, 2016

Image courtesy David Oliva Uribe

A Mexican researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), one of Europe’s top universities, has designed an amazing device which can help in locating cancerous tumors in the brain.

The device is conceived by David Oliva Uribe, president of the Mexican Talent Network Abroad chapter in Belgium. The device will help surgeons differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue in the brain.

Removing brain tumors requires a high level of precision; there’s almost no room for error as even a single mistake can lead to brain damage, motor impairment, or failure in controlling vital organ function.

This device, known as a “smart scalpel,” is the size of a scalpel, but the tip is spherical and of a diameter smaller than one millimeter. Using this device, doctors can discover exactly where the tumor is and remove it more precisely.

Uribe explained, “Although imaging techniques such as an MRI and an ultrasound locate a tumor accurately before the surgery, during the cranial opening and throughout the surgical procedure there are many factors that can lead to the loss of this position, so the resection (the removing of the tumor) depends on the experience, as well as the senses of sight and touch of the surgeon.”

The device has been tested on tumors in pig brains with successful results, making it feasible to be adapted for use on humans as well.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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