3D Human GPS Powered By Light Paves Way for Radiation-Free Minimally-Invasive Surgery – Radiography

Image: LumiGuide enables doctors to navigate through blood vessels using light instead of X-ray (Photo courtesy of Philips)

In vascular surgery, doctors frequently employ endovascular surgery techniques using tools such as guidewires and catheters, often accessing through arteries like the femoral artery. This method is known as an endovascular procedure. Historically, clinicians had to depend solely on X-ray imaging to navigate these devices through the vascular system. However, X-ray imaging is a double-edged sword: it not only exposes patients and clinicians to potentially harmful radiation but also provides only two-dimensional black and white images. As medical professionals increasingly undertake more complex endovascular procedures, such as repairing aortic aneurysms, the duration of these procedures is increasing, leading to greater radiation exposure for both patients and healthcare providers. Now, a breakthrough innovation in healthcare imaging enables doctors to navigate through blood vessels using light, instead of X-ray.

Philips’ (Amsterdam‎, Noord-Holland) LumiGuide system which employs Fiber Optic RealShape (FORS) technology marks a major shift in imaging for complex aortic operations, as it does not involve radiation. LumiGuide utilizes light reflected along an optical fiber within a guidewire to create three-dimensional, high-resolution, color images of various devices, such as standard catheters, within the patient’s body. These images are produced in real-time, from any angle, and in multiple views. This technology enables physicians to precisely understand the orientation of their devices and visualize their intended path, all without the need for X-ray imaging. LumiGuide, compatible exclusively with certain Philips interventional systems like Azurion, is the second-generation system incorporating FORS technology.

After its initial limited release to nine aortic centers, over 900 patients have been treated using this technology. One center, conducting a comparative study with traditional methods, reported a 37% reduction in the time taken for complex aortic procedures and a 56% decrease in radiation exposure (DAP) compared to X-ray. Leveraging insights, data, and clinical feedback from its initial use in these centers, LumiGuide has now been enhanced with new features that save time. Unlike the previous requirement for manual registration of devices with the image-guided therapy platform, LumiGuide now employs AI-based technology to quickly and efficiently recognize and register the guidewire. This advancement not only improves accuracy but also further reduces the time required for procedures. The physician’s role is simply to confirm the wire’s registration.

LumiGuide is set to enable Philips and its clinical partners to collect more data on its performance at the existing sites, in preparation for a global rollout. With the technology now being introduced to more aortic centers in the USA and Europe, Philips is leading the way toward new radiation-free surgical procedures. Additionally, plans are underway to expand the range of devices compatible with LumiGuide, extending beyond aortic procedures. Philips is moving towards a future of entirely radiation-free surgeries, which signifies a leap towards easier, faster, and safer medical care for both patients and healthcare professionals.

“If we can see more, we can proceed more quickly and more confidently,” said Dr. Atul Gupta, Chief Medical Officer for Image Guided Therapy and Precision Diagnosis at Philips and practicing interventional radiologist. “In effect, LumiGuide is a 3D human GPS powered by light.”