Global medical device company Stryker announced the launch of its state-of-the-art Fluorescence Imaging (FI) technology, Spy-Phi, for better outcomes and safety of patients suffering from breast cancer. The only of its’s kind technology in the world uses near infrared fluorescence imaging during cancer surgery that allows real time, clinically significant and actionable information to improve quality of care and lower overall healthcare burden.
During breast cancer surgery, surgeons inject a safe and affordable ICG dye in patients. Using Spy-Phi imaging technology, they can view blood flow in vessels, micro-vessels, tissue perfusion and critical anatomical structures intraoperatively. The relevant tissues light up in fluorescent green colour. The reliability and multiple applications of the imaging are a significant differentiation compared to currently used technologies like Blue dye.
The technology can be used in various procedures, but is especially helpful in mapping of lymphatics, identification of lymph nodes and confirming adequate node is identified, it is removed and then sent for frozen section in the lab to stage the cancer which helps to decide the further line of treatment.
Renowned breast cancer expert Dr David Weintritt from GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, US, visited India to hold clinical workshops on the role of Fluorescence Imaging in breast cancer surgery and reconstruction.
“Rising prevalence of cancer and complexity of surgeries we perform is making infrared fluorescence imaging increasingly critical as it is beneficial in detecting pathways of cancer spread more precisely and in preventing complications in breast cancer surgeries. Fluorescence Imaging uses near infrared technology and indocyanine green (ICG) dye that rapidly visualises lymph nodes that can otherwise be challenging for surgeons to navigate. It has the potential to help save and improve lives of many patients suffering from breast cancer. Further, because the information is obtained real time during the surgery, we can now prevent several complications proactively and reduce the overall cost of healthcare,” stated Dr. Weintritt.
Excited about the launch, Ms. Meenakshi Nevatia, Managing Director, Stryker India, shared, “Spy-Phi is a unique and highly advanced fluorescence imaging technology that can be used in plastics, microsurgical, reconstructive and gastrointestinal procedures. We’re proud to bring Spy-Phi to India and are looking forward to the incredible impact this technology can have in making healthcare better.”
The Spy-Phi technology
Using Spy-Phi technology surgeons can precisely follow the pathway of lymphatics in the patient’s body during surgery. Older techniques require removal of all lymph nodes associated with cancer which sometimes results in complications and high cases of lymphedema and chronic impairment of the arm. Fluorescence Imaging technology gives surgeons precise information about which lymph node, called Sentinel Lymph Node (SLN) should be removed, resulting in a more accurate outcome with fewer complications. The technology improves precision of cancer staging by giving improved detection rates of SLNs and less false positives.
The technology allows SLN nodes to light up in green colour which distinguishes them from the surrounding tissue and from the lymph nodes that should not be removed. Currently the most common method to detect and remove lymph nodes during surgery is use of blue dye and radiocolloid while using a gamma probe. Challenge with gamma probes is that it involves injecting radiation into the patient and is not widely available across healthcare institutes due to regulatory restrictions as well as high operating cost per surgery.
“Stryker’s Spy-Phi infrared fluorescence technology with its accuracy and precision, not only helps improve patient outcomes, but also provides alternative options compared to current technologies like gamma probe,” the company claims.
FI can also be used in breast oncoplasty and in breast reconstruction post mastectomy. FI reveals areas that do not have adequate blood supply allowing the surgeon to remove tissues that would otherwise lead to problems in healing, infections and unnecessary additional surgeries which are costly. More than 250 peer-reviewed publications demonstrate that the use of this technology will improve clinical outcomes and help surgeons choose the best next line of treatment.