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Biotech Innovations
February 12, 2019

Imaging Needle to Detect Blood Vessels During Brain Tumor Biopsy

JAMA. 2019;321(6):537. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.0138

Before a patient with a brain tumor undergoes a needle biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to locate the mass and major blood vessels. During the biopsy, the position of the needle is tracked with sensors and superimposed onto the scan, allowing the surgeon to sample the tumor while avoiding blood vessels. But there are 2 problems: the MRI doesn’t detect blood vessels smaller than about 3 mm in diameter and the needle tracking can be off by a few millimeters. If the needle damages a blood vessel, a brain bleed can occur.