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Manuel Mekkattu, BSc

Job Title

Research Trainee

Academic Rank

Staff/Research Assistant




Manuel Mekkattu, Elias Bou Farhat, Mark Cunningham, Farhad R. Nezami

Principal Investigator

Farhad R. Nezami



An Innovative Imaging Tool to Improve Visualization During Vascular and Cardiac Surgery

Scientific Abstract

Enhancing surgical procedures and enabling accurate diagnoses through clear visualization of cardiac and vascular structures are essential. Yet, traditional techniques of medical imaging have inherent limitations, particularly when it comes to achieving clear visibility through blood. We posit that while conventional imaging approaches struggle to see through blood due to its opacity, the utilization of suitable infrared wavelengths has the potential to induce partial transparency in blood, offering the unique potential for significantly improved visualization capabilities. We have developed an imaging prototype that employs a high-power pulsed infrared laser to see through blood. Our technology uses nanosecond-pulsed sequences operating at kilohertz frequencies to omit photons with a wavelength of 1550 nm which interact with red blood cells (RBCs) through Mie Scattering. An infrared detector captures the reflected photons, and those that exhibit minimal trajectory changes from scattering with RBCs unveil the underlying structure. Our in-vitro experiments conducted within a simulated blood flow environment using bovine blood produced high-quality images, exhibiting clear contrast visibility up to 2mm and the ability to recognize structures as deep as 5mm. This innovation holds the potential to lay the foundation for effective intra-operative visualization, offering valuable technological insights and paving the way for further research.

Lay Abstract

Making surgeries safer and improving diagnoses by seeing inside the heart and blood vessels is really important. But the regular ways doctors look inside our body have some problems, especially when there is blood in the way. We think that by using infrared light, we might be able to make blood a bit see-through and do the surgeries more successfully. We have made a special experimental tool that uses a strong burst of infrared light to see through blood. The camera takes really quick pictures, and the light it uses cannot be seen by our eyes. This light dodges red blood cells and comes back to the camera. By looking at how the light comes back, we can figure out what is hiding behind the blood. We tested our camera with animal blood in the lab, and it worked really well. We could see things clearly up to 2mm deep and even things 5mm deep. This new way of looking inside will make surgeries better and help us learn more about how our bodies work.

Clinical Implications

We have developed a promising imaging prototype with potential for clearer intra-operative imaging amidst blood flow, recognizing structures 5mm deep in bench-top tests. This technology will facilitate strategic surgical planning, navigation of intricate procedures, and the achievement of optimal outcomes.