Clear view for the differentiation of microbially contaminated tissue in the middle ear
Clear view for the differentiation of microbially contaminated tissue in the middle ear

As part of the BetterView photonics research project, the use of short-wave infrared (SWIR) light in the spectral range aims to improve image display and thus the detection and differentiation of microbially contaminated tissue in ENT microsurgery. The ENT surgical microscope specially developed for this purpose will initially be used in the diagnosis and therapy of cholesteatoma.

Rodgau, February 11, 2022 – Chronic purulent inflammations of the middle ear, so-called cholesteatomas, are often the cause of inflammations of the middle ear. To improve their detection, differentiation and therapy, as well as to prevent the potentially serious consequential damage short-wave infrared light is planned to be used in a SWIR surgical microscope to be specially developed. Funded with 4.1 million euros from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Omicron-Laser is cooperating with the University of Bielefeld and the Bielefeld Hospital, the medical technology company Munich Surgical Imaging, the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Leibniz Universität Hannover and the camera system manufacturer Excelitas PCO GmbH.

The planned use of short-wave infrared promises several advantages over current microscopes, which work almost exclusively with light from the visible spectral range. The SWIR microscope is expected to provide physicians with spatial imaging, differentiation and unobstructed vision even through hemorrhages, bacterial biofilms, cartilage and soft tissue. In addition, the use of the future SWIR microscope is expected to provide more precise imaging of the ossicles compared to previously used technologies such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging. The resulting high-resolution images should not only make minimally invasive procedures more efficient and precise, but also increase patient safety at the same time. In order to put these advantages of the SWIR surgical microscope to the test in practice in the treatment of cholesteatoma, it is planned to use the microscope at the University Clinic for Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at the Bielefeld Hospital, where 650 procedures are performed each year.

Under the project management of CEO Sönke-Nils Baumann and with more than 30 years of expertise in the field, laser and LED light source manufacturer Omicron-Laserage Laserprodukte GmbH from Rodgau is in charge of developing a SWIR illumination source for connection to the surgical microscope.