News | June 20, 2007

3-D Ultrasound Provides In-Depth View of the Brain

June 21, 2007 - Biomedical engineers at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering have adapted a three-dimensional ultrasound scanner that might guide minimally invasive brain surgeries and provide better detection of a brain tumor’s location.

The “brain scope,” which is inserted into a dime-sized hole in the skull, may be particularly useful for the bedside evaluation of critically ill patients when computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment is unavailable, the researchers said. They report the development in a forthcoming issue of the journal Ultrasound in Medicine & Biology, which is currently available online. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers demonstrated that the brain scanner can successfully image the brain of a dog. Guided by the device, team member Srinivasan Mukundan of Duke Medical Center directed a needle into a particular region of the animal's brain, as is required in surgeries to drain cerebrospinal fluid and relieve pressure on the brain. In a second animal, the researchers made use of dyes to enhance ultrasound images of blood vessels in the brain.

The new advance is the latest in a series of developments Smith's team has made since developing the first 3-D ultrasound scanner in 1987 for imaging the heart from outside the body.

For more information: www.pratt.duke.edu

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