In the quest to improve patient outcomes, collaborations between surgeons and spectroscopists are leading the charge with real-time measurements that could take some of the guesswork out of surgery
Matthew Hallam | | Longer Read
A recurring theme in the analytical sciences is the movement of techniques out of the lab and into the field. In past issues of The Analytical Scientist, we have put the spotlight on spectroscopic guns to extract information from ancient art, portable GC-MS systems for the rapid identification of hazardous chemicals at fire scenes, and portable analyzers to ensure quality of consumer products at all phases of production. But perhaps the most exciting stage of all is the operating theater.
Already, patients going under the knife may come under the scrutiny of advanced analytical instruments – all in the name of improved treatment and outcomes. These efforts are visible in success stories like the iKnife (a surgical instrument that identifies cancerous cells by rapid evaporative ionization MS intraoperatively) and MasSpec Pen (a similar tool using ambient ionization MS). Arguably less publicized, however, is the expanding role of spectroscopic approaches in this space.
Do spectroscopic approaches have the potential to change the way we operate? In what areas will they make the biggest impact? And what will these changes mean for the way analysts and clinicians collaborate? We spoke to two specialists – one surgeon and one spectroscopist – to answer some of the key questions.
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