Thesis Proposal: Michelle Graham
Apr 29 @ 3:00 pm
Thesis Proposal: Michelle Graham

Note: This is a virtual presentation. Here is the link for where the presentation will be taking place.

Title: Photoacoustic imaging to detect major blood vessels and nerves during neurosurgery and head and neck surgery

Abstract: Real-time intraoperative guidance during minimally invasive neurosurgical and head and neck procedures is often limited to endoscopy, CT-guided image navigation, and electromyography, which are generally insufficient to locate major blood vessels and nerves hidden by tissue. Accidental damage to these hidden structures has incidence rates of 6.8% in surgeries to remove pituitary tumors (i.e., endonasal transsphenoidal surgery) and 3-4% in surgeries to remove parotid tumors (i.e., parotidectomy), often resulting in severe consequences, such as patient blindness, paralysis, and death. Photoacoustic imaging is a promising emerging imaging technique to provide real-time guidance of subsurface blood vessels and nerves during these surgeries.

Limited optical penetration through bone and the presence of acoustic clutter, reverberations, aberration, and attenuation can degrade photoacoustic image quality and potentially corrupt the usefulness of this promising intraoperative guidance technique. In order to mitigate image degradation, photoacoustic imaging system parameters may be adjusted and optimized to cater to the specific imaging environment. In particular, parameter adjustment can be categorized into the optimization of photoacoustic signal generation and the optimization of photoacoustic image formation (i.e., beamforming) and image display methods.

In this talk, I will describe my contributions to leverage amplitude- and coherence-based beamforming techniques to improve photoacoustic image display for the detection of blood vessels during endonasal transsphenoidal surgery. I will then present my contributions to the derivation of a novel photoacoustic spatial coherence theory, which provides a fundamental understanding critical to the optimization of coherence-based photoacoustic images. Finally, I will present a plan to translate this work from the visualization of blood vessels during neurosurgery to the visualization of nerves during head and neck surgery. Successful completion of this work will lay the foundation necessary to introduce novel, intraoperative, photoacoustic image guidance techniques that will eliminate the incidence of accidental injury to major blood vessels and nerves during minimally invasive surgeries.

Committee Members:

  • Muyinatu Bell, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Xindge Li, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Jin Kang, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
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