Oct. 24, 2022
Originally published: BioWorld MedTech
By: David Godkin, Staff Writer
Synaptive Medical Inc. has introduced a free water correction feature to its Modus Plan software to restore tracts in areas surrounding brain lesions affected by edema and which interferes with automated mapping of the brain. Water from edema obscures retrieval of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data and tractography mapping used to evaluate white matter pathways in the brain.
“There is no definitive edema number that’s associated with every condition in every patient,” Synaptive CEO Cameron Piron told BioWorld. “So having a dynamic tool like the Reveal for Modus Plan to interrogate data and investigate how tracts look through different levels of edema has been proven through our work to be really essential.”
Beating back the noise
Conventional MRI is accurate tracing out manageable, clinically formulated tracts distilled from the billions of neurons in the brain to make diseased areas of the brain easier to see. DTI aids this, Piron said, by generating data from a patient’s MRI scan which is then processed to help neurosurgeons plan their surgical procedures.
DTI runs into problems, however, when water from edema floods the tracts in areas surrounding and obscuring the brain lesions surgeons are anxious to treat.
“It could be from a very large tumor which creates a kind of backlog of water in the region that makes it difficult to actually see the tumor,” said Piron. “Or it may occur because of a large head injury from a car crash where all the information below the injury is obscured because you have so much head swelling due to water in the brain.”
This blockage of information or “noise” below a brain injury is a major hindrance using DTI tractography, despite its widespread adoption by hospitals for neurosurgical imaging and planning. Edematous water not only interferes with the generation of DTI data derived from MRI, it prevents viewing and assessment of white matter pathways in the brain which are vital for safe brain surgery.
To combat these problems, Toronto-based Synaptive said it has put into the hands of surgeons correction algorithms that help them clearly see past free water edema in tracts of the brain. The new feature has the potential, Piron said, to turn the Modus Plan parent imaging software into a serial tool “for tracking a patient with brain cancer long term or to better refine approaches for oncology surgery.”
A clear path forward
Coupled with the surgeon’s application and control of correction algorithms for automated generation of DTI tractography, the Reveal for Modus Plan feature “will give surgeons the confidence to provide minimally invasive and precise treatments to their patients,” said Piron.
Training should be relatively straightforward for surgeons already familiar with Modus Plan, Piron added. “Once we roll out our product, part of what we always do is train them on the new feature and its functionality.”
Helpful to patients: no additional scanning has been added to the procedure, which can extend that patient’s stay at hospital. “The new software fits within the workflow patients and doctors already go through,” said Piron. “We’re using algorithms for a much deeper analysis of the information that’s currently being processed off current MRI systems and we’re doing in a timely fashion.”
And the cost to the customer for the added feature for battling edema on the brain? A fractional upgrade charge will be added to Synaptive’s current Modus Plan software currently priced at approximately $150,000, Piron replied. “We try to be very efficient with what we’re delivering and try to put a lot of innovation into our product that can scale very rapidly and not cost the system.”
Piron stressed the new software feature “will also provide high leverage in terms of the investments hospitals have already made in imaging infrastructure, including MRI scanners.”
Subject to regulatory approval, the Reveal for Modus Plan is intended to be incorporated into Modus Plan for distribution at hospital systems across multiple markets. “Whenever we can solve problems as part of one ecosystem in micromanagement, it’s of benefit both to the customer and to us looking to get greater exposure for all our products.”