Guided Therapeutics in Head and Neck Surgery
Jonathan Irish, MD, FACS, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Center, thinks the wave of the future is a combination of several technologies into a surgical system that can provide real-time images and better surgical targeting.
This includes robotic knives and hands but also incorporates technology that allows near real-time “on-the-table” imaging through a procedure that allows surgical tool tracking and optical imaging technology for tumor targeting and contouring. This technology will be merged with “proximity alerts” to let surgeons know when a critical structure is being approached.
“The power is not any one technology, but it’s the merging of many, such that the sum becomes greater than its parts,” Dr. Irish said. At his center, researchers have developed an animal model using fluorescence imaging and long-lasting fluorophores to illuminate both primary tumors and the lymphatics, moving away from the tumor into what he describes as a “real-time” sentinel node biopsy.