A new prototype surgical tool might be paving the way for wireless pain relief. The hand-held device brings together preoperative computed tomography (CT) data and sensing technology. The goal is to assist physicians with carrying out complex operations.
Called Chimaera, the instrument uses a different way to deliver miniaturized neurostimulators to specific nerves. Altering brain activity by applying electric impulses to nerves is called neurostimulation. Accessing the correct nerve safely can be difficult at times, especially if a nerve is either deep in the face or right behind an eye-socket.
"With Chimaera, what we've done is we've combined smart sensing technology, pre-operative planning, we've taken small implant form-factors; and we've combined both implant delivery with surgical tool to provide a completely connected, unified surgical system that has the potential to take a surgery that maybe only four or five people in the world can carry out today and make it accessible to a broad cross-section of general surgeons," said Simon Karger from technology developers Cambridge Consultants in an interview with Reuters. "By doing that we make it accessible to a much, much broader patient population."
Not only can Chimaera help surgeons, it can also assist patients with pain management. Karger told Reuters: "Imagine a migraine sufferer who literally as they feel the onset of their migraine, can reach for their cell phone and dial-down the pain. That is a life-changing therapy for that patient. And crucially what it does is it changes that patient from a patient into a consumer; they don't need to feel like a patient anymore."
The hand-held device, called Chimaera, could revolutionize the delivery of miniaturized neurostimulators to specific nerves, and give many more patients access to pioneering new pain management technology. Different regions of the brain are known to be linked to areas of perception, such as pain.