Intraoperative Identification of Residual Brain Tumour Using a Novel High-Resolution Ultrasound Endoscope and Integrated Neuronavigation System
20,800 North Americans die from brain cancer each year. This project aims to improve patient outcomes by helping surgeons remove tumours with higher accuracy and less damage to healthy brain.
When removing brain tumours, surgeons guide the operation visually and with a microscope. This can be challenging as the path cut through a patient’s skull/brain to reach the tumour is often narrow and obscured by blood. Surgeons also rely on brain scans taken before surgery for guidance, but the brain shifts during surgery, rendering these “maps” inaccurate. This leads to incomplete removal of deadly tumour tissue and unintentional removal of healthy tissue. New technology is needed to help surgeons locate tumours through narrow pathways and guide tumour removal.
We have developed a unique ultrasound (US) imaging probe for that purpose. Narrow enough to fit through the surgical path, it could be used during surgery to help surgeons “see” tumours below the brain surface and more accurately remove them. One challenge is that while our probe generates images with high resolution, the view is microscopic. This makes it difficult to connect what surgeons see in US images to where those features are located relative to the rest of the brain. To account for this, we recently acquired a commercial surgical tool tracking system. It tracks surgical tools with a motion capture camera and displays their positions within the brain scan map. We believe that this could be paired with our US probe to improve the precision of tumour removal.
This project will test that theory in brain tumour patients. The research will have 3 phases: 1) integrating the US probe with the tracking system, 2) characterizing the difference between healthy and tumour tissue using US imaging and 3) analyzing whether the combined system can detect tumours more accurately than traditional methods.
Annika Benson , Dalhousie University
Partners and Donors
Henry and Berenice Kaufmann Foundation