3D Ultrasound Device Poised To Advance Minimally Invasive Surgery

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Minimally Invasive Surgery

Three-dimensional ultrasound probes built by researchers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering have imaged the beating hearts of dogs. The engineers said their demonstration showed that the probes could give surgeons a better view during human endoscopic surgeries in which operations are performed through tiny "keyhole" incisions.

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If the probes prove beneficial in human testing, the advance might lead to more precise and safer endoscopic surgeries, said the Duke engineers. The researchers reported their advance in the latest issue of the journal Ultrasonic Imaging, which was issued in late March 2006, but dated July 2005. The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

"Surgeons now use optical endoscopes or two-dimensional ultrasound when conducting minimally invasive surgery," said lead engineer Stephen Smith, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Pratt School. Optical endoscopes are thin tubes with a tiny video camera that surgeons can insert directly into the abdomen or chest through small incisions.

"With our scanner, doctors could see the target lesion or a portion of an organ in a real-time three-dimensional scan," Smith said. "They would have the option of viewing the tissue in three perpendicular cross-sectional slices simultaneously or in the same way a camera would see it

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