Canadian researchers optimise laser surgery

May 30, 2019

Surgical options so far involve cutting the skin, patching it up and leaving it to heal. This process may soon be redundant as researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, have recently developed a specialised laser microscope that dually diagnoses and performs precise surgical removals without breaking the skin’s surface.

The multiphoton excitation microscope uses an ultra fast infrared laser beam for imaging of living tissue up to about one millimeter in depth –but it does one better from previous technology by digitally scanning and treating diseased tissue with its laser.

The researchers had wanted to make the existing microscopic diagnostic device more versatile in imaging, and so transformed it into a treatment device by simply turning up the power of the laser. When applied to treating diseases of the skin, such as in skin cancer, the modified device allows medical professionals to pinpoint the exact location of the abnormality, diagnose and treat it instantly. The technology could potentially be used to treat any structure of the body that requires delicate and precise intervention, including nerves or blood vessels, so long as the area can be reached by light.

Co-lead researcher and Professor at UBC’s Department of Dermatology and Skin Science, Harvey Lui, said the pathway of blood vessels could be altered without impacting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues – a revolutionary approach for diagnosing and scanning diseases.

Haishan Zeng, a fellow UBC Professor and distinguished scientist said their team was first to achieve correct and fast video-rate imaging which can enhance therapeutic and clinical applications.

Precise diagnosis and surgery is possible in the near future as the researchers have partnered with several UBC departments to develop and optimise different versions of the technology- aminiature version, for example, could perform microscopic examinations and treatment during endoscopy.

Category: Technology & Devices

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