'Smart' Scalpel Could Distinguish Healthy Brain Tissue From Tumors

Making brain surgery easy

Smart scalpel being tested on artificial tissue
Smart scalpel being tested on artificial tissuePhoto via AlphaGallileo.org

Brain surgery is difficult, and incredibly precise. One scientist, David Oliva Uribe, has now developed a new tool that could help neurosurgeons out. It's a smart scalpel that can differentiate brain tissue from a brain tumor.

The tool, which looks like a scalpel with a tiny sphere at the end, has sensors inside. When a surgeon wipes the sphere across a surface, the sensors detect the tissue type within half a second. Then the device will either use a sound or visual cue to let the surgeon know what type of tissue it is.

So far, the device has only been tested on artificial tumor tissue and brain tissue obtained from pigs. But, if it makes it to human trials and into the operating room, the smart scalpel could save precious time for neurosurgeons, who now have to rely on their own sight and touch. Potentially, the scalpel could also be adapted for use in other parts of the body, such as the stomach or intestines.