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FDA approves device based on Vanderbilt invention to ID parathyroid during head and neck surgeries

by Dec. 17, 2018, 12:25 PM

Ten years after Professor of Biomedical Engineering Anita Mahadevan-Jansen discovered that parathyroid tissues glow under near-infrared light, the FDA has approved a device based on the technology for surgical use.

She and her team developed the technology at the Vanderbilt Biophotonics Center. The device called “PTeye” has been tested at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Ohio State University Medical Center in an 81-patient clinical study, leading to regulatory approval. It enables real-time identification of parathyroid tissue during thyroid and parathyroid surgeries.

The parathyroid glands are vital structures that regulate blood calcium levels in the human body to support normal heart, nervous system, kidney and bone function. These four tiny glands are typically each about the size of a grain of rice, tucked within lobes of the larger thyroid gland. Locating parathyroid tissue and distinguishing it from nearby tissues during surgery can be difficult and lead to inadvertent removal of healthy parathyroid tissue or incomplete removal of diseased parathyroid glands.