Advancing Medical Diagnostics: The Role of Spectroscopy in Precise Tissue Identification and Treatment

Tissue identification is a critical element of all medical processes. Diagnosing disease, making decisions about surgery, and treatment plans all benefit from advanced techniques in tissue identification.

Advancing Medical Diagnostics: The Role of Spectroscopy in Precise Tissue Identification and Treatment

Image Credit: Avantes

In traditional medical diagnostics, the procedure involves taking a patient biopsy sample and then meticulous analysis, which commonly utilizes microscopy methods within a laboratory setting. While histopathology is prevalent as the ‘gold standard’ for cancer diagnosis, it has limitations.1

Biopsy sampling is invasive and creates discomfort for patients. The precision needed during the sampling process impacts diagnostic accuracy, and the urgent nature of clinical decision-making demands efficient procedures for optimal patient outcomes.2,3

This article investigates the challenges of conventional tissue identification methods and identifies emerging approaches and technologies that seek to revolutionize this crucial aspect of medical practice.

Added Value of Spectroscopy in Tissue Identification

Spectroscopic techniques are currently used in clinical and laboratory settings to diagnose cancers and discriminate tissue.4-7 Spectroscopic methods use specific chemical biomarkers in tissues instead of relying on visual cues found in imaging microscopy. This subtle approach offers further enhancements to tissue identification and characterization accuracy.5

One of the main benefits of using spectroscopic methods, specifically with longer wavelength radiation, is that the radiation has a better penetration depth and is useful in visualizing tissue structures inside the body without surgery. This means that critical information about tissue structure depth, location, and composition can be gained, all with minimal patient discomfort.

Real-Time Diagnostics

In addition to boosting diagnostic precision, technically advanced spectrometers, such as the Avantes series, can provide real-time imaging information throughout a surgical procedure.

The Avantes AvaSpect-ULS028XL-EVO or HS208XL, in combination with an Avantes light source or paired with fiber optic probes, is essential in deciphering between human tissue and prosthetics. Utilizing the benefits of reflectance and transmission modes, these instruments allow surgeons to see subtle variations in tissue composition, which aids in surgery navigation and ensures the best patient outcomes.

Advancing Medical Diagnostics: The Role of Spectroscopy in Precise Tissue Identification and Treatment

Image Credit: Avantes

Specific Applications of Spectrometers

Spectrometers play an essential part in a variety of medical diagnostic applications, which showcases their precision and versatility, as outlined below:

Smart Biopsy for Oncological Precision

Spectrometers offer the idea of the ‘smart biopsy,’ utilizing real-time analysis abilities to take on challenges in oncology, specifically in ensuring whole tumor removal.8 By integrating spectroscopic capabilities into surgical tools, like the surgical knife, surgeons have a ‘smart’ tool able to discern between tissue types in real time using reflectance measurements. This improves biopsy precision and limits the risk of missing cancerous regions.

Enhancing Precision in Anesthesia Delivery

The high spatial resolution of spectroscopic methods expands beyond biopsy procedures to other high-precision interventions, such as anesthesia delivery.9 The incorporation of spectroscopy and fiber optics into the needle tip is revolutionary to anesthesia administration, particularly regional anesthesia. By discerning nerve tissue from the surrounding tissue in real-time, spectrometer-equipped needles guarantee effective and accurate nerve blocks, limiting the risk of nerve damage and improving patient safety.9

Accurate Depth Determination for Targeted Treatments

Spectroscopic information can also offer accurate depth determinations, crucial for various medical interventions. Depth information is of great value in finding tissues like nerves and optimizing treatment doses, as seen in radiotherapy. With precise determination of the tissue depth, spectrometers are part of the dose minimization strategies, lowering undesired side effects and improving patient outcomes.10

Future Frontiers in Tissue Identification

Integrating spectroscopic techniques into tissue identification is already revolutionizing medical information quality available to clinicians, leading to better diagnosis times and gaining new insights throughout surgical procedures.

Spectroscopic methods provide the benefit of being non-invasive, reducing clinical risks associated with conventional diagnostic procedures. Ultimately, invasive surgical biopsies could be replaced with minimally invasive techniques similar to pulse oximetry.

By developing compact, handheld spectrometers, several possibilities for point-of-care diagnostics have emerged, expanding the reach of advanced diagnosis further than conventional medical settings. Portable devices can provide insights in real-time and non-invasive characterization, leading to improved diagnostics and treatment guidance precision.

The Avantes mission is to champion the transformative possibilities of spectroscopy. This technology empowers clinicians and researchers alike by enabling unparalleled levels of diagnostic yield, which guides treatments and improves patient outcomes.

References and Further Reading

  1. Irshad, H., Member, S., Veillard, A., Roux, L., & Racoceanu, D. (2014). Methods for Nuclei Detection , Segmentation , and Classification in Digital Histopathology : A  Review — Current Status and Future Potential. IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 7, 97–114. https://doi.org/10.1109/RBME.2013.2295804
  2. Neal, R. D. (2009). Do diagnostic delays in cancer matter ? British Journal of Cancer, 101, 9-1S2. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjc.6605384
  3. Pritzker, K. P. H., & Nieminen, H. J. (2019). Needle Biopsy Adequacy in the Era of Precision Medicine and Value-Based Health Care. Arch Pathol Lab Med, 143, 1399–1415. https://doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2018-0463-RA
  4. Blondel, W., & Delconte, A. (2021). Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy : SpectroLive Medical Device for Skin In Vivo Optical Biopsy. Electronics, 10, 243.
  5. Santos, I. P., Barroso, E. M., Schut, C. B., Caspers, P. J., Lanschot, C. G. F. Van, Choi, D., & Kamp, M. F. Van Der. (2017). Raman spectroscopy for cancer detection and cancer surgery guidance : translation to the clinics. Analyst, 142, 3025–3047. https://doi.org/10.1039/c7an00957g
  6. Amani, M., Bavali, A., & Parvin, P. (2022). Optical characterization of the liver tissue affected by fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma based on internal filters of laser ‑ induced fluorescence. Scientific Reports, 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-10146-7
  7. Hendriks, B. H. W., Balthasar, A. J. R., Lucassen, G. W., Voort, M. Van Der, Kortsmit, J., Langhout, G. C., & Geffen, G. J. Van. (2015). Nerve detection with optical spectroscopy for regional anesthesia procedures. Journal of Translational Medicine, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0739-y
  8. Amiri, S. A., Dankelman, J., & Hendriks, B. H. W. (2024). Enhancing Intraoperative Tissue Identification : Investigating a Smart Electrosurgical Knife ’ s Functionality During Electrosurgery. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, PP, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1109/TBME.2024.3362235
  9. Hendriks, B. H. W., Balthasar, A. J. R., Lucassen, G. W., Voort, M. Van Der, Kortsmit, J., Langhout, G. C., & Geffen, G. J. Van. (2015). Nerve detection with optical spectroscopy for regional anesthesia procedures. Journal of Translational Medicine, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12967-015-0739-y
  10. Naumann, P., Batista, V., Farnia, B., & Fischer, J. (2020). Feasibility of Optical Surface-Guidance for Position Verification and Monitoring of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in. Frontiers in Oncology, 10, 573279. https://doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.573279

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Avantes BV.

For more information on this source, please visit Avantes BV.

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