Transcranial Photoacoustic Imaging for Guiding Skull Base Surgeries

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C12861 Transcranial Photoacoustic Imaging System for Skull Base Surgeries


Invention novelty: A photoacoustic imaging system enabling real-time intraoperative imaging of hidden blood vessels to improve patient safety during endonasal transsphenoidal surgery.


Value Proposition: Tumor removal from the pituitary gland via endonasal transsphenoidal surgery bears a high risk of injury to the carotid arteries that can be fatal. Photoacoustic imaging, a hybrid imaging modality relying on the conversion between light and acoustic waves, is gaining increasing popularity for interventional procedures; yet, its use is limited by insufficient light penetration and poor signal-to-noise ratios. This invention provides a novel, optionally robot-controlled, photoacoustic imaging system enabling the illumination of endonasal surgical sites and real-time data acquisition and processing to enhance patient outcome during transsphenoidal surgery. Advantages include:

-       Real-time photoacoustic image acquisition and processing of unseen blood vessels during transcranial surgeries

-       Improved image contrast and laser influence with spatial coherence beamformers

-       Enhanced patient safety during skull base surgeries, including endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary tumor removal


Technical Details: Johns Hopkins researchers have designed a photoacoustic imaging system permitting the real-time intraoperative visualization of blood vessels during skull base surgeries. Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery is a minimally invasive procedure to remove pituitary tumors and reverse disease-related endocrine problems and restore normal hormone balance. To prevent injury of blood vessels during surgery and improve patient safety, inventors have developed a photoacoustic imaging system specifically adapted for use in transcranial surgeries. Briefly, an optical fiber attached to an optionally robot-controlled surgical drill is positioned such that it illuminates the site of the surgical procedure with a laser. Optical absorption causes localized thermoelastic expansion, which is detected by a transducer affixed to the patient’s skull. Lastly, a non-transitory computer readable medium comprising an advanced beamformer allows correcting for insufficient laser influence and real-time image retrieval and processing, beneficial for quick and reliable intraoperative visualization of hidden blood vessels during transcranial surgeries.


Looking for Partners: To develop & commercialize the technology as a photoacoustic imaging system for skull base surgeries.


Stage of Development: Prototype


Data Availability: Under CDA / NDA


Patent Status: US Application Pending, Publication No. US-2015-0223903


Publication(s)/Associated Cases: Not available at this time


Categories: Medical device

Keywords: Pituitary tumor; Photoacoustic imaging; Transsphenoidal surgery; Intraoperative guidance; Ultrasonic wave; Transducer; Laser; Beamformer


Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR TRANSCRANIAL PHOTOACOUSTIC IMAGING FOR GUIDING SKULL BASE SURGERIES ORD: Ordinary Utility United States 14/611,628 10,531,828 2/2/2015 1/14/2020 1/6/2037 Granted
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