The specially designed camera and endoscopes allow Raynor, Woods, and other UNC urologic surgeons to capture real-time images of kidney tissue and surrounding blood vessels by injecting a unique fluorescence dye that is activated by near-infrared light.
“When we are removing a tumor, there is always a concern about surgical margins,” said Woods. “The field of vision offered by this technology may allow us to better identify the demarcation between normal tissue and cancerous tissue in the kidney.”
The surgeons also noted that the fluorescence enables them to better visualize blood flow in the kidney during surgery. They can then use a surgical technique called selective arterial clamping to assist in the removal of cancerous tissue while sparing more normal tissue and preventing damage to healthy parts of the kidney.
“Robotic surgery is often a good option for patients. It is already very precise, minimally invasive, and healing times can be faster,” said Raynor. “Any technology that may further enhance surgical precision is a welcome tool.”
The new technique incorporates a 3-D HD camera that is mounted on one of the four arms of the da Vinci Si surgical robot. In addition to standard real-time images of the surgical field, the camera can switch to view the images of tissue and surrounding blood vessels illuminated by the special dye when exposed to near-infrared light.
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