Adelaide Researchers Develop Smart Needle For Safer Brain Surgery

Smart Biopsy Device to Make a Difference in Neurosurgery!

Researchers from the University of Adelaide, in South Australia, have developed a new smart needle that makes brain surgery safer and more precise.

The new high-tech device is one of a kind that contains a minuscule camera, encased within a brain biopsy needle.

This amazing needle allows the surgeons to ‘see’ at-risk blood vessels as they insert the needle, allowing them to avoid causing bleeds that can potentially be fatal.

This breakthrough project is a collaboration with the University of Western Australia and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Meet the Smart Needle

Professor Robert McLaughlin, head of the project and the Chair of Biophotonics, Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, at the University of Adelaide, revealed the special features of the smart needle.

Mclaughlin said, “We call it a smart needle. It contains a tiny fibre-optic camera, the size of a
HUMAN HAIR, shining infrared light to see the vessels before the needle can damage them.”

Aside from that, the needle is computer smart in which it recognizes the blood vessel and alerts the surgeon, making the brain surgery ‘safer’.

Over the past six months, the “smart needle” has been used in a pilot trial with 12 patients undergoing neurosurgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia.

The smart needle will be ready for formal clinical trials in 2018. The team is looking forward to negotiating with a number of international medical device manufacturers. They hope to manufacture the smart needles in Australia.

Two doctors in a surgery operation. A smart needle makes surgery safer.
Two doctors in a surgery operation.

Hailed by Many

The new project has garnered admiration and support from the medical research office and the South Australian Government.

Education and Training Minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, commended the developers of the new device.

Minister Birmingham said, “Professors McLaughlin and Lind are improving lives and are exemplars of Australian ingenuity who are leading the world as innovators in medical technology.”

He added, “This smart biopsy device is an outstanding example of how our investment in research can translate into real benefits for industries and ultimately for Australians.”

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.