In breast surgery, a lack of knowledge about what is below the tissue surface may lead to positive tumor margins and iatrogenic damage. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) is a spectroscopic technique that can distinguish between healthy and tumor tissue making it a suitable technology for intraoperative guidance. However, because tumor surgeries are often performed with an electrosurgical knife, the effect of a coagulated tissue layer on DRS measurements must be taken into account. It is evaluated whether real-time DRS measurements obtained with a photonic electrosurgical knife could provide useful information of tissue properties also when tissue is coagulated and cut. The size of the coagulated area is determined and the effect of its presence on DR spectra is studied using ex vivo porcine adipose and muscle tissue. A coagulated tissue layer with a depth of 0.1 to 0.4 mm is observed after coagulating muscle with an electrosurgical knife. The results show that the effect of coagulating adipose tissue is negligible. Using the fat/water ratio's calculated from the measured spectra of the photonic electrosurgical knife, it was possible to determine the distance from the instrument tip to a tissue transition during cutting. In conclusion, the photonic electrosurgical knife can determine tissue properties of coagulated and cut tissue and has, therefore, the potential to provide real-time feedback about the presence of breast tumor margins during cutting, helping surgeons to establish negative margins and improve patient outcome.
- diffuse reflectance spectroscopy
- electrosurgical knife
- intraoperative guidance