Hybrid SPECT/ultrasound imaging shows promise for sentinel lymph node biopsy

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 05, 2014
SurgicEye's SentiGuide
A study investigating the effectiveness of SPECT/ultrasound hybrid imaging for mapping sentinel lymph nodes in breast cancer and melanoma patients has shown promising results. SurgicEye's SentiGuide, which is the only SPECT/ultrasound technology that fuses the images without the help of CT, was used for the study.

SentiGuide scans around the region of interest and that data is captured and used to generate a high-resolution SPECT image. The image is overlaid on the ultrasound image and then a needle biopsy under ultrasound guidance is performed.

The Klinikum rechts der Isar hospital in Munich recruited 19 patients with a total of 21 sentinel lymph nodes in the past few months to assess the imaging accuracy of the technology. They found that its sensitivity in detecting the nodes is equal to scintigraphy, the current gold standard.

"Combining ultrasound and SPECT allows for visualizing the body and also identifying which area is absorbing radioactivity," Dr. Thomas Wendler, chief technology officer and managing director of SurgicEye, told DOTmed News.

The study will expand to include 50 patients and will be completed before the end of the year. The positive initial results of this study influenced the hospital to investigate minimally-invasive sentinel lymph node removal with a biopsy device in a new study, which will commence in 2015.

For that study, ultrasound will be used to guide a biopsy procedure in order to avoid surgically excising the lymph node, decreasing the risk of complications. Additionally, surgical removal takes about 25 minutes, but an interventional biopsy procedure is only about 10 to 15 minutes, which will greatly reduce operating room time and lead to cost savings, according to Dr. Joerg Traub, CEO and managing director of SurgicEye.

"These are millions of examinations that will benefit from the hybrid imaging," wrote Traud. The technology is useful in various applications for diagnosis and interventional procedures combined with needle biopsies especially in the field of sentinel lymph node diagnosis in breast cancer and melanoma, parathyroid and thyroid imaging.

Currently the technology has 510(k) clearance for use with GE Healthcare's ultrasound.

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