Method and device for preserving and imaging specimens while retaining information on spatial orientation of specimen in respect to reference objects

Current Problem

Researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University and the University of Rochester have collaborated to create a method and device for preserving and imaging lumpectomy specimens while retaining information on the spatial orientation of the specimen with respect to reference objects. Currently, during a lumpectomy surgery, surgeons excise the tumor with a rim of healthy tissue around it. The specimen is then imaged horizontally and orthogonally, and ideally the radiologist can report back the findings before the surgical site is closed. However, this communication between surgeon and radiologist can be limited due to the fact that the images taken do not have clear directional markers in relation to the tissue, tissue geometry is not typically preserved and the images cannot imitate in vivo orientation. A process and device that could alleviate these issues would allow surgeons to be sure that they removed the entire tumor, and make the communication process between the radiologist and surgeons more effective.

Upstate's Solution

The method and device developed by Upstate and Rochester researchers alleviate the aforementioned problems encountered during lumpectomy procedures. This device preserves the histological integrity of the specimen, as well as the spatial orientation of the tissue relative to where it was in the patient. This device will also limit imaging artifacts, thus ensuring a clear view of the excised tissue.

The device consists of two sets of containers made of low x-ray attenuating materials: a multi-part external container with fixed fiducial markers allowing spatial orientation and a multi-part, movable internal container, also having fiducial markers with a diameter in the range of 2-8 cm that can be freely rotated inside of the external containers in order to match the section plane in which the tissue excision is performed by the surgeon. The easily interpretable externally visible markers allow the surgeon to place the specimen into the specimen holder while preserving information about patient anatomy.  The internal container has two hemispheres that can be opened and securely closed, filled with suitable material (sterile foam or cell foam), and allows the use of fixative on the specimen. The material filling the hemispheres can be provided with a central cavity enabling more stable placement and reduced tissue deformation.  Thus, the shape of the lump can be preserved.

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