A novel system of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy for postoperative monitoring of the hemodynamics of transplanted free tissue

Project Lead: Dr. Don Anderson

Free Tissue Transfer (FTT) is the standard of care for reconstructing complex surgical defects from cancer surgery. FTT success relies on maintaining blood flow through the transplanted vessels. Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive optical technology that can measure tissue oxygenation and hemodynamics within the FTT. Up to 10% of FTTs fail due to compromise of the transplanted blood vessels with a salvage rate of under 50%. Evidence suggests salvage rates can be increased to 85% using early preclinical detection by NIRS technology. Despite the benefits, few centers have adopted NIRS because of a lack of commercially available systems customized for FTT monitoring. 

Dr. Anderson and his colleagues plan to build and evaluate a novel system of NIRS for postoperative hemodynamics monitoring of transplanted FTT. The research plan will be implemented over two years. The NIRS prototype will be designed by Dr. Babak Shadgan and built by the Pathonix Innovation Inc, a technology consulting firm with NIRS expertise. The prototype will then be used in two clinical studies run at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH).

Incorporating a NIRS system will decrease FTT failure rates, thus decreasing patient morbidity associated with re-operations and secondary reconstructions. This has the potential to significantly decrease operative costs associated with failed FTT reconstructions. This is a unique opportunity to develop a novel NIRS system with considerable commercial potential. Dr. Shadgan has world-leading expertise in clinical NIRS systems. His collaboration with a high-volume FTT reconstruction program led by Dr. Don Anderson will bring to market a product of significant clinical and commercial value. 

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