AI comes to the Operating Room

Using laser imaging and artificial intelligence, researchers were able to diagnose brain tumors in under 150 seconds. The dark ovals are tumor cells, among nerve fibers that appear as white streaks, indicating a malignant tumor called a diffuse glioma. Credit: Michigan Medicine

(Denise Grady/ The New York Times) — Brain surgeons are bringing artificial intelligence and new imaging techniques into the operating room, to diagnose tumors as accurately as pathologists, and much faster, according to a report in the journal Nature Medicine.

The new approach streamlines the standard practice of analyzing tissue samples while the patient is still on the operating table, to help guide brain surgery and later treatment.

The traditional method, which requires sending the tissue to a lab, freezing and staining it, then peering at it through a microscope, takes 20 to 30 minutes or longer. The new technique takes two and a half minutes. Like the old method, it requires that tissue be removed from the brain, but uses lasers to create images and a computer to read them in the operating room. (…)

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