Panasonic camera projects real-time images onto patients during surgery
Panasonic has developed a new infrared Medical Imaging Projection System (MIPS) that not only tracks changes in the shape and positions of organs in near real-time, but projects the images directly onto the patient as a guide for surgeons during complex operations.
Ever since the discovery of X-rays, imaging technologies have revolutionized surgery and medicine. Even the first blurry shadows of flesh and bones made diagnosis and treatment many orders of magnitude safer and more effective, and, today, we live in a world where viewing highly detailed, color, 3D moving images of the body's interior in real time is possible.
However, there is still a lot of room for improvement – especially in dealing with scenarios like liver surgery. The liver is not only the largest gland in the human body, it's an organ that dominates the abdominal cavity. This means that in any surgical situation, it will tend to shift and sag in all manner of ways. Worse, the liver is permeated with blood vessels and is so complicated in terms of its function that liver surgery requires a lot of attention to detail.
In such a situation, indocyanine green (ICG) fluorescence imaging techniques have proven very useful. ICG is a dye that is fluorescent under infrared light that can be used for diagnoses and to produce images for heart, eye, and liver surgery.
The problem was that the surgeon had to keep looking away from the patient to study a monitor, so Panasonic, Kyoto University and medical instruments company Mitaka Kohki Co., Ltd. teamed up to create MIPS, a near real-time imaging system that makes use of the projection mapping technology that is commonly used to project images onto buildings. With the patient's body serving as the canvas, images captured by an infrared camera are processed and projected onto the patient in a customizable format that is visible by the surgeon.
This means the surgeon doesn't have to look away from the surgical field to take in important information such as the shape and position of organs, and bleeding can be minimized by guiding doctors in making incisions along projected lines. In addition, the system is also designed to be vibration proof and easy to move into position.
The video below shows MIPS in action.