New “Smart Scalpel” Looks to Make Cancer Surgery More Thorough

A new scalpel created by researchers at London’s Imperial College can help surgeons detect the remnants of cancer during surgery by “smelling the disease.” The electrosurgical knife, known as the “iKnife,” samples the smoke created while cutting through cancerous tissue, according to a report by Business Insider.

Commonly, electrosurgical tools use electricity and heat to make cuts and cauterize wounds during surgery, which often create small amounts of smoke during the procedure. However, various chemicals present in the smoke are directly related to the presence and type of cancer. The iKnife samples the smoke during surgery by drawing a continuous stream of smoke into a tube, which feeds into a mass spectrometer machine. This breaks down the smoke and analyzes its molecules by comparing them to 3000 samples of cancerous tissue smoke to determine if tumors present are cancerous.

According to research, the iKnife can determine the presence of cancer in three seconds. As such, patients will not have to wait while under sedation and open on the surgical table for the average time of 20 to 30 minutes while a tumor undergoes pathology testing to determine the presence of cancer. Researchers hope that the tool can be used to reduce surgery time and prevent complications.

Additionally, the iKnife can determine whether cancer is present in each cut made by a surgeon. Surgeons can therefore determine whether they have reached the edge or margins of cancerous tissue, where they find healthy tissue. This can help ensure that tumors are completely removed.

While advances in surgical procedures can help cancer removal procedures reach a greater success rate, the health of a patient depends on the timely diagnosis of cancer by a healthcare professional. If you have been subjected to a failure to timely diagnose cancer, a no-cost consultation with the legal team at Blume Forte can help you better understand your legal options. Contact our office at (973) 635-5400 to learn more about your rights.

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