Hyperspectral imaging is making a profound impact on cancer detection and image-guided surgery. Not only is it proving itself an effective method to find tumors themselves, but it also offers information about surrounding tissue that is important to treatment and healing. The method has proved especially effective for identifying problems in the gastrointestinal tract as well as finding benign and malignant tumors throughout the body.
How Hyperspectral Imaging Helps Detect Cancer
Hyperspectral imaging uses a camera to measure electromagnetic spectral signals. To generate an image to be analyzed, a broadband light source is used to illuminate the object. The object’s interaction with light depends on its makeup and the light’s wavelength.
The pixels within the image all offer spectral information in real-time and provide detailed data about the object, such as a tumor or other tissue. Using hyperspectral imaging, doctors can capture an image of a patient’s entire body, facilitating the detection of cancer by interpreting the electromagnetic signals.
How Hyperspectral Imaging Aids with Surgery
Because hyperspectral imaging can be captured in real-time, it allows surgeons to know the exact state of a tumor before operating. During or after the surgery, it can be used to take images that let doctors know if any residual tumor remains. Surgeons also hope that hyperspectral imaging can aid with making safe sutures.
Traditional scans surrounding surgeries require the use of imaging agents. These agents are often inconvenient and can negatively affect patient health. Hyperspectral imaging doesn’t require imaging agents and is considered a noninvasive diagnostic tool. Additionally, its increased speed and processing ensure surgeries don’t have to last any longer than necessary.
Future of Hyperspectral Imaging in Medicine
Hyperspectral imaging has the potential to offer early detection to prevent tumor growth and reduce mortality rates by the use of precision medicine. Tests have already been performed on both mice and human surgical specimens and will soon move on to a human subject clinical study. The study will help to show that hyperspectral imaging is a viable and more effective alternative to traditional approaches.
Current hyperspectral imaging technologies require very large equipment. Researchers hope to create mobile, inexpensive devices that can be used in all hospitals and operating rooms. Hyperspectral imaging could soon be used to detect conditions like retinal diseases and other types of cancer. Developing small, compact cameras could allow them to be used in minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Learn more about the benefits of advanced vision technology in medical imaging by visiting our Life Sciences Vision Technology for Medical Imaging educational section.