NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has given the world amazing images of the distant stars, planets, and galaxies. The cutting edge imaging technology that enhances the Hubble images also extends its benefits to life here on Earth, from deciphering previously unreadable portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls to improving digital mammography for advanced cancer detection. This imaging technology is now helping physicians to perform micro-invasive arthroscopic surgery, which is the visual examination of an interior joint such as the knee. Arthroscopy is widely held as the diagnostic gold standard. Now space image enhancement technology has been brought down to Earth to make the process more accurate and efficient.
The new InnerVue™ Diagnostic Scope System uses a computer enhancement algorithm in conjunction with a disposable micro-arthroscope to enable surgeons to see remarkably clear images inside human joints in real time for highly accurate and immediate diagnosis.
With an outside diameter of just 1.2 millimetres (roughly the size of an 18-gauge needle) the micro-invasive scope requires only local anesthetic so patients remain alert and can walk out of the office immediately after most procedures.
InnerVue is now widely used to diagnose knee and shoulder joint conditions. Diagnostic uses for other small joints such as the wrist, elbow, and ankle are under study. The system can also be used in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging for more accurate diagnosis than with MRI alone, particularly with diagnosing cartilage, articular surface damage, and arthritis severity.
Accurate diagnosis, improved convenience and minimal patient discomfort, the benefits of space technology helping improve the quality of life here on Earth.