Smart surgical knife detects cancerous cells

The Breast Tissue Screening Bra has provided a way for patients to detect if they have cancer. Now Imperial College London has created the iKnife, a surgical tool that can help doctors determine which cells are cancerous when cutting out a tumour.

A common way to rid the body of cancer is to target the tumour and have it surgically removed, but if surgeons don’t cut deep enough they can miss some of the cells, allowing them to continue growing. According to the researchers, one in five breast cancer patients need to undergo a second operation because of this. The iKnife is an electrical tool that heats the tissue when an incision is made. It features sensors that then monitor the smoke given off and determine if cancerous chemicals are still present. The team carried out 91 tests in the operating theater and each one of the readings matched post-operative analysis carried out by traditional methods.

The iKnife is an example of how technology is enabling doctors to improve the accuracy of their performance in the surgery room, reducing pain and inconvenience for patients. How else can medical tools be updated with smart technology?


Spotted by: Murray Orange

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