News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Devices, Systems, and Methods for Non-Invasive Imaging of Anatomy", for Approval

May 30, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Health & Medicine Week -- From Washington, D.C., NewsRx journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Gibson, Luke Andrew (Southaven, MS); Buisseret, Mark Joseph (Germantown, TN), filed on August 4, 2011, was made available online on May 15, 2014 (see also Smith & Nephew, Inc.).

The patent's assignee is Smith & Nephew, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates generally to surgery and more specifically to image analysis through computer assisted medical diagnostics.

"Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive medical imaging technology that uses electromagnetic fields to create one or more high contrast cross-sectional images or slices of the internal anatomy. Using automated, semi-automated or manual processing techniques, the images can be stacked, segmented and otherwise processed to create computer assisted design (CAD) models or other types of three-dimensional models of the anatomy of interest. For instance, MRI images can be processed to create a three dimensional model of the surface contours and geometries of the bone and/or cartilage of a patient's joint. Other types of non-invasive imaging techniques can be used to create three dimensional models of bones, joints and other anatomy as well, including, without limitation, Computed Tomography (CT) imaging or ultrasound imaging.

"It is known to use three-dimensional models in some instances to create orthopaedic implants and/or instrumentation that is adapted to specifically correspond to the anatomy of a particular patient. For instance, it is known to use three-dimensional models of a femur and/or tibia to build one or more cutting guides with an anatomy-contacting surface that is specifically designed to reference and correspond to the anatomy of a particular patient and to guide a cutter to form one or more resections on the bone in desired positions and orientations relative to that anatomy and certain important axes of that anatomy. Three-dimensional models and other information obtained from these non-invasive imaging techniques can be used in other contexts as well outside of the development of patient specific instruments and implants.

"In some instances, it may be important for the patient to remain as motionless as possible during imaging, as movement can create inaccuracies in the process that could potentially negatively impact on the later use of the information obtained from the imaging to treat the patient. For instance, when an MRI procedure is used to obtain information to create a patient specific instrument for facilitating a knee arthroplasty procedure, it is, at least in some procedures, necessary to scan several portions of the patient's anatomy, such as, in some cases, the ankle, knee and hip. In some instances, it may be important to maintain the spatial relationship between the ankle, knee and hip scans to determine an appropriate position and orientation of the patient specific instrument or other orthopaedic device. For instance, in some instances, those relationships may be used to determine a mechanical axis, anatomic axis, or other important axis of the knee joint, or other references associated with this or other portions of the anatomy, which may be, in some cases, important references and information for properly aligning a cutting guide or other instrument or implant with respect to the bone. For instance, knowing the mechanical axis of the knee joint may be important for establishing the varus/valgus alignment of the cutting guide or other degrees of freedom associated with the positioning and orienting of the cutting guide in three dimensional space. If the patient moves during one of the scans, or in between one of the scans, it may change the relationship between the anatomy associated with the ankle, knee and/or hip with respect to the data obtained through the imaging procedure, and could potentially negatively impact on the quality of the data obtained, and consequently the quality of the patient specific instrument or implant created using that data.

"In some procedures, an additional x-ray of the entire leg or other anatomy of interest may be performed as a check against the possibility that the relationship between the relevant anatomy changed during the imaging procedure. The additional x-ray adds expense to the pre-surgical planning, and there remains a need in the art for a way to verify the relationship between the relevant anatomy did not change during the imaging procedure at a lower cost."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Described herein are examples of devices, systems and methods for imaging anatomy, such as by, but not limited to, MRI, CT or ultrasound procedures, devices, systems and methods, that address some or all of the above concerns and/or other drawbacks or problems associated with imaging procedures. In some instances, the devices, systems and methods described herein may facilitate determining whether a patient moved during an MRI or other imaging procedure causing potentially significant inaccuracies, or whether other events occurred that caused potentially inaccurate data. In some, but not necessarily all, embodiments, the devices, systems and methods described herein may also or alternatively facilitate correcting the information obtained from the MRI or other imaging procedure in view of the patient's movement or other inaccuracy creating event. Although the devices, systems and methods described herein are discussed in the context of an MRI procedure, other image based procedures could also employ the teachings disclosed herein for similar or other purposes.

"In one aspect, there is provided a reference device comprising: a rod having a known length, a first end, and a second end; and at least one marker connected to each of said first end and said second end. In some embodiments, at least one marker appears opaque to an imaging device. In one particular embodiment, there are at least three markers connected to each of said first end and second end, and the at least three markers are removably positioned to form a plane. In an alternative embodiment, the rod is segmented. In some embodiments, the rod further comprises a hinge. In some embodiments, there are at least four markers connected to each of said first end and second end, and the at least four markers are removably positioned to form a coordinate system.

"Further areas of applicability of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the preferred embodiment of the invention, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and form a part of the specification, illustrate the embodiments of the present invention and together with the written description serve to explain the principles, characteristics, and features of the invention. In the drawings:

"FIG. 1 illustrates a reference device in a first embodiment.

"FIG. 2 illustrates two reference devices in use.

"FIG. 3 is a schematic illustrating a method of use of the first embodiment.

"FIG. 4 illustrates the reference device in an alternative embodiment

"FIG. 5 is a schematic illustrating a method of use of the second embodiment.

"FIG. 6 illustrates the reference device in a third embodiment.

"FIG. 7 illustrates the reference device in a fourth embodiment.

"FIG. 8 illustrates the reference device in a fifth embodiment.

"FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of the reference device.

"FIG. 10 illustrates a top view of the reference device.

"FIG. 11 schematically illustrates image corrective action based upon determined error."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Gibson, Luke Andrew; Buisseret, Mark Joseph. Devices, Systems, and Methods for Non-Invasive Imaging of Anatomy. Filed August 4, 2011 and posted May 15, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6441&p=129&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140508.PD.&OS=PD/20140508&RS=PD/20140508

Keywords for this news article include: Bone Research, Smith & Nephew Inc.

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Source: Health & Medicine Week