Spotting Breast Tumors with the help of a Fingertip Elasticity Probe

Fingertip Elasticity Probe

Physicians tend to use fingertips regularly to feel out tumors during biopsy or excision surgeries as our fingertips are incredibly sensitive biomechanical devices. However, despite showing some results, this technique is not 100% accurate as patients have to repeatedly return for procedures to remove missed bits of target lesions.

A superpower for the fingertips of surgeons to help them better discern healthy from cancerous tissues is being worked upon by the researchers at University of Western Australia. a quantitative micro-elastography (QME) probe that relies on optical coherence tomography to detect how tissue gives way under stress has been built by the team. A fiber- optic cable’s tip is placed on the fingertip itself in the micro-elastography (QME) probe. It shines a coherent light into the tissue that it makes contact with. On being pressed against the tissue, the device is able to measure the change on the way the light scatters and translates into a reading.

Similar to a clinical pulse oximeter, the device is worn over a finger. A quick measure of the tissue’s elasticity is obtained once the user simply presses it against the tissue in question. A special algorithm has been designed to tackle the complication which may arise due to even the slightest movement of the user’s finger impacting the readings. Currently, a 90% success rate has been obtained by the device. Researchers are working hard to improve this percentage. Furthermore, a glove with the sensor built-in is also being developed by the team so that it can be used as a convenient surgical product

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