IPP team: Photonics Instrumentation and Processes

Surgical procedure guidance

From IPP team: Photonics Instrumentation and Processes
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Near infrared (NIR) light (650 to 1000 nm) has the unique property of propagating deeply within living tissues. During this propagation, photons interact with living tissue constituents, providing information regarding physiological and functional parameters such as hemoglobin, lipids and water. Such information can be used to extract key information regarding tissue oxygenation, perfusion, metabolism and hydration, all of which are useful to healthcare practitioners during surgical procedures. In addition, the good propagation properties of NIR light inside living tissues can be exploited to image fluorescent contrast agents injected to the patient for highlighting structures of interest intraoperatively.


In this project, our team is developing novel tools for intraoperative guidance using NIR light in order to solve longstanding clinical problems. In particular we develop dedicated imaging systems, acquisition, processing and visualization methods that are quantitative, real-time and work over large fields of view. We validate our technology onto animal models (rodents, pigs) and perform its translation to first-in-human clinical trials.

More specifically, we work on two axes: Fluorescence imaging and endogenous contrast imaging.

  • Fluorescence Imaging: Fluorescence-guided surgery witnessed a very rapid growth over the last ten years. We have been actively involved in the design and translation of the first clinical imaging systems in the USA since 2005, all successfully tested onto humans. In Strasbourg, we developed a strong network of surgeons (Strasbourg’s university hospital, IHU, IRCAD) to advance the technology towards clinical adoption. On one end, together with clinicians we explore novel applications of fluorescence-guided surgery be developing dedicated tools such as rigid and flexible endoscopes. On the other, we develop novel imaging method to better perform surgical guidance using fluorescence, such as real-time quantitative fluorescence imaging.

  • Endogenous Contrast Imaging: Endogenous contrast imaging has a very strong potential for providing critical functional and structural information to healthcare practitioners during surgical procedure. Moreover, the absence of contrast agents makes its clinical translation much more efficient. However, technological limitations have until now prevented its evaluation during surgical procedures. We recently introduced a novel imaging method capable of real-time, wide-field and quantitative imaging of living tissues properties that can be used during surgery. In this axis, we develop novel acquisition and processing methods that work in real-time, engineer novel dedicated surgical devices, and investigate the relationship between optical signals and physiological and structural information of living tissues. Altogether, such technology should provide key information to surgeons in real-time during surgery.