Near infrared pen

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Project Overview

The SPY fluorescence imaging system is commonly used by surgeons to assess blood supply to breast skin following nipple-sparing mastectomies. For breast cancer procedures post-surgery, the parenchyma of the breast is removed thus leaving behind only the skin. During the mastectomy, complications can arise which may lead to damaged blood supply to the breast skin. This skin that is not receiving a consistent flow of blood is removed in order to minimize complications in the reconstruction process.

In order to detect the presence of functioning vascularity in the breast area, the patients are given a dose of intravenous indocyanine green. This compound can be detected in the vascularity of the breast skin and it causes the regions containing the chemical to light up; if there is damage to the vascular supply there will be no light detected on the SPY system. The skin areas with poor blood supply are marked with a pen to be removed prior to reconstruction. However, when the SPY system is being operated the lights are all off and thus the marker and the ink are not visible. This makes it challenging to verify that the correct spots are marked for removal on the patient.

Our client, Dr. Nicholas Albano would like us to develop chemically modified ink that fluoresces in the visible and infrared light spectrum to be used in concert with SPY technology. This will allow surgeons to accurately label areas of necrosed tissue prior to removal. Given a budget of $100.00, we aim to design an OR pen capable of ejecting modified ink to properly identify areas of minimally vascularized tissue following mastectomies.


Team picture

Team members from left to right: Amber Rollete, Janmesh Patel, Ben Knudsen, Tarika Patel, Courtney Lynch

4/12/19 RMBS/GLBC Conference in Milwaukee (1st Place Undergraduate Poster)

Contact Information

Team Members

Advisor and Client