Fishing out a brain tumor is a delicate task, if not done properly it can have catastrophic consequences, such as brain damage, motor impairment or failure in controlling a vital organ function. In order to make this work more precise, the Mexican David Oliva Uribe designed, at Brussels, Belgium, a "smart scalpel" that determines whether an area is healthy or tumorous.
It is designed to be used in the operating room when a brain tumor is already diagnosed and the only solution is to remove it. The tool has the size of a scalpel, but the tip is spherical and of a diameter smaller than one millimeter.
The prototype was tested in artificial tumors and brain tissue from pigs, where excellent results were obtained and demonstrated the feasibility of entering the phase of human trials.
The smart scalpel features integrated sensors that by wiping the surface warns the neurosurgeon with visual and/or auditory displays about the status of tissue, refraining to be a distraction. The results are obtained in less than half a second, saving vital time during the operation.