Intraoperative detection of blood vessels with an imaging needle during neurosurgery in humans

Hari Ramakonar, Bryden C. Quirk, Rodney W. Kirk, Jiawen Li, Angela Jacques, Christopher R.P. Lind, Robert A. McLaughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Intracranial hemorrhage can be a devastating complication associated with needle biopsies of the brain. Hemorrhage can occur to vessels located adjacent to the biopsy needle as tissue is aspirated into the needle and removed. No intraoperative technology exists to reliably identify blood vessels that are at risk of damage. To address this problem, we developed an “imaging needle” that can visualize nearby blood vessels in real time. The imaging needle contains a miniaturized optical coherence tomography probe that allows differentiation of blood flow and tissue. In 11 patients, we were able to intraoperatively detect blood vessels (diameter, >500 mm) with a sensitivity of 91.2% and a specificity of 97.7%. This is the first reported use of an optical coherence tomography needle probe in human brain in vivo. These results suggest that imaging needles may serve as a valuable tool in a range of neurosurgical needle interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaav4992
JournalScience Advances
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2018


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