Tool for Skull Base and Brain Surgery
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Surgeons could operate more precisely.
The term “Multi-Angle and Rear Viewing Endoscopic tooL”
(MARVEL) denotes an auxiliary endoscope, now undergoing development,
that a surgeon would use in conjunction with a conventional
endoscope to obtain additional perspective. The role of the
MARVEL in endoscopic brain surgery would be similar to the
role of a mouth mirror in dentistry. Such a tool is potentially
useful for in-situ planetary geology applications for the
close-up imaging of unexposed rock surfaces in cracks or those
not in the direct line of sight.
The MARVEL would include part of the mechanism of an endo-scissor.
The scissor linkage would be modified for use in adjusting
the camera angle instead ofactuating a scissor blade.
A conventional endoscope provides mostly a frontal view —
that is, a view along its longitudinal axis and, hence, along
a straight line extending from an opening through which it
is inserted. The MARVEL could be inserted through the same
opening as that of the conventional endoscope, but could be
adjusted to provide a view from almost any desired angle.
The MARVEL camera image would be displayed, on the same monitor
as that of the conventional endoscopic image, as an inset
within the conventional endoscopic image. For example, while
viewing a tumor from the front in the conventional endoscopic
image, the surgeon could simultaneously view the tumor from
the side or the rear in the MARVEL image, and could thereby
gain additional visual cues that would aid in precise three-dimensional
positioning of surgical tools to excise the tumor. Indeed,
a side or rear view through the MARVEL could be essential
in a case in which the object of surgical interest was not
visible from the front.
The conceptual design of the MARVEL exploits the surgeon’s
familiarity with endoscopic surgical tools. The MARVEL would
include a miniature electronic camera and miniature radio
transmitter mounted on the tip of a surgical tool derived
from an endo-scissor (see figure). The inclusion of the radio
transmitter would eliminate the need for wires, which could
interfere with manipulation of this and other surgical tools.
The handgrip of the tool would be connected to a linkage similar
to that of an endo-scissor, but the linkage would be configured
to enable adjustment of the camera angle instead of actuation
of a scissor blade.
It is envisioned that thicknesses of the tool shaft and the
camera would be less than 4 mm, so that the camera-tipped
tool could be swiftly inserted and withdrawn through a dime-size
opening. Electronic cameras having dimensions of the order
of millimeters are already commercially available, but their
designs are not optimized for use in endoscopic brain surgery.
The variety of potential endoscopic, thoracoscopic, and laparoscopic
applications can be expected to increase as further development
of electronic cameras yields further miniaturization and improvements
in imaging performance.
This work was done by Youngsam Bae, Anna Liao, and Harish
Manohara of Caltech and Hrayr Shahinian from Skull Base Institute
for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected
to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights
for its commercial use should be addressed to:
Innovative Technology Assets Management
Mail Stop 202-233
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
Refer to NPO-45579, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs
issue, and the page number.