When extracting tissue for a biopsy, the amount of tissue collected is crucial. It’s estimated that up to a third of fine-needle biopsies fail to get enough tissue for a reliable diagnosis. According to a recent Medgadget article though, researchers have developed an ultrasonically actuated needle that can improve the procedure while reducing patient pain and inconvenience.
The high-tech needle was created by a team at Aalto University in Finland. It houses a conventional syringe with a fine needle, but it vibrates about 30,000 times a second. This makes the tissue behave more like a liquid so that it can enter the fine needle easier. The vibrations are localized to the tip of the needle to minimize the effect on the surrounding area. Studies showed that the new method increases biopsy yields by 3 to 6 times the amount gathered with the same needle without ultrasound. A video demonstration can be seen here.