Welcome to the next generation of ultrasound imaging, at the tip of a needle.
Needle Vision is the creator of a revolutionary imaging technology that allows clinicians to see forwards of the needle tip.
Until now, health care professionals have not had forward-looking needle guidance, as they have worked with a blind spot directly in front of the needle when using Ultrasound. This patented technology enables doctors to see forwards of what the needle tip “sees."
Better placement of a needle will protect patients from complications in high-risk needle procedures and allow for diagnostic procedures and treatments that would otherwise be impossible.
At this time, there is no other forward-looking needle technology on the market. Needle Vision provides a new tool to image fine structures and the most delicate parts of the body.
Ultrasound technology has transformed medical imaging. Yet despite the miraculous pictures generated by ultrasound, there are certain parts of the body that are difficult to see.
Everyday the world over, physicians are placing needles into delicate areas of the body. Examples of these procedures include epidurals, prostate and breast biopsies, just to name a few. The majority of these procedures are done blind, without any imaging guidance at all. The results can be catastrophic in certain cases.
Needle Vision will offer the clinician a new ultrasound attachment. Rather than only having a wand-style ultrasound that is limited to the outside of the body, the forward-looking ultrasound needles can be inserted into the affected area for more precise viewing – delivering of anesthetic or other treatment, as necessary.
Having forward-looking ultrasound guidance at the tip of the needle helps to prevent common accidents such as pushing too far into the spinal cord during an epidural or getting needle placement close to an implant where a leak would require surgery to fix.
For anesthesiologists, diagnosticians and surgeons utilizing needles, Needle Vision will reduce the risks encountered in millions of procedures performed each year. Needle Vision will improve results and patient well-being, and in certain cases, it could save lives.
VARS technology has the power to change the medical industry as we know it, offering more safety, accuracy, reliability, and with decreased complications. With Needle Vision, the physician can see things inside the body otherwise unseen.
How is this possible? Technically speaking:
Needle Vision has demonstrated a prototype imaging endoscope with a novel and patented forward-imaging beam steering system that uses a single-element 20 MHz angled-face acoustic transducer combined with an internal rotating variable-angle reﬂecting surface (VARS).
With a fixed transducer position, rotation of the VARS structure within living tissue generates a 2-D angular sector scan of the area directly in front of the instrument. A 3-D image is achieved if the VARS revolutions are accompanied by successive rotations of the transducer. High resolution images of an ex vivo cow eye were obtained utilizing our prototype.
What exactly does this mean?
Needle Vision’s technology has a number of benefits and advantages for clinicians and patients.
Ultrasonic imaging is inherently safer for the patient and less expensive than the use of higher energy X Ray, MRI, mm wave, or radioactive imaging dyes, etc.
Greater imaging range
The technology’s internal use of a single (as opposed to an array) of transducers enables higher power applications permitting high-resolution 2D and 3D forward-imaging at a distance of up to 1 cm from the needle tip.
The use of a single transducer design supports Needle Vision’s product roadmap to integrate VARS diagnostic imaging with high-frequency ultrasound (HIFU) surgical instruments.
Needle Vision will have a positive impact on any procedure that uses ultrasound or needs some placement guidance, including epidurals, biopsies, drainage procedures, and plastic surgery, among others.
Physicians are the primary beneficiaries of the VARS technology from Needle Vision. It will help to reduce accidents and lawsuits. It will increase patient satisfaction and care. Certain procedures that would otherwise be impossible or difficult will now be feasible.
One would imagine that every hospital in the world would want to have the Needle Vision technology to attach to their already existing ultrasound machines.
Anesthesiologists faced with patients with abnormal spines would now have a readily available tool at their disposal. Plastic Surgeons, who on a regular basis drain fluid from delicate areas such as the breast, could do so with limited damage to implants and other structures that could now be avoided. Cardiologists and Neurosurgeons could, in the future, use modified catheters with the VARS technology on the tip, to navigate through clogged arteries and blood vessels as they go. The Needle Vision technology could literally change the way physicians place needles and do biopsies.
Ultrasound devices are now available in almost every hospital, and many physicians have them in their offices as well. The Dream Needle, as we like to call it at Needle Vision, is a new ultrasound tool that can be inserted into the body directly and, therefore, allows the clinician to see areas that might otherwise be blocked by bone or difficult access. For example, targeted therapies of cancer cells could be seen from the point of view of the needle tip. Or, catheters placed into blood vessels would now be able to see forwards and image clots as they appear. Placing needles for biopsies into delicate areas such as the prostate or breast could potentially be done in one pass. Furthermore, during amniocentesis, blood vessels that otherwise may be ruptured during blind placement, could be avoided.
The possible uses are varied and critical for certain medical procedures. As the technology gets better, and the needles get smaller, the possibility exists to even navigate into vessels deep within the brain. Needle Vision might enable operations on certain types of lesions or tumors that are typically too dangerous to access.
Our VARS patent has exciting and widespread possibilities for the medical industry and beyond.
Fully patent protected, Needle Vision has successfully completed the development and testing of the VARS prototype needle with the grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The prototype was tested in a laboratory setting and was able to successfully image phantom wires and the layers of a cow’s eye.
The VARS surface and needles can be machined at Cal Lasers in Simi Valley, CA. The Acoustics Laboratory at USC has procured our transducers in the past. In the future, the transducers will most likely be purchased from Blatek Ultrasonic Transducers based in State College, PA. Both facilities have the capacity to meet any future manufacturing needs.
Becton Dickinson, a manufacturer of needles and other medical devices has contacted us directly. General Electric has asked us to submit a formal inquiry. Partnering with a company like Becton Dickinson or General Electric would allow our company to add value to their already existing systems. For example, GE could offer Needle Vision needles for sale with their ultrasound machines.
The company is now is the next phase of development to miniaturize the needle further and to add injection capabilities. An animal study on cadavers is scheduled to be completed by August 2017, and human trials are scheduled for August 2018.
The final product will be a forward-looking needle endoscope with injection capabilities that can connect to standard ultrasound machines.
Needle Vision has the potential to improve the lives of millions of ordinary people, and, for some, its use could be the difference between life, or serious patient injury, and even death. Our hope that this invention will better humanity and improve the medical industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about Needle Vision and the company’s goals for the future, make sure to request access to the Business Plan tab of the profile to see how you can get involved!
Needle Vision is the result of a lifetime of research in science and medicine by Dr. David T. Raphael. The founding of this company really began at the end of WWII when his father was killed in the D-Day invasion. As a result of that tragedy, the government paid for his education. Eventually he would receive a Ph.D. in biomathematics, specializing in acoustics. Later he would receive an MD degree and become a physician and an anesthesiologist. As the head of the USC Keck School of Medicine Anesthesia Research Laboratory, he tasked himself with trying to find a solution to one of the ongoing challenges facing anesthesiologists – poor needle placement during epidurals. The result was the Variable Angle Reflecting Surface (VARS) solution that would allow miniaturized transducers to see forwards.
Dr. Raphael is a board certified anesthesiologist and academic researcher. He is formerly the head of the Anesthesia Research Department at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. He holds six patents in the acoustic guidance space.
Dr. Samet is the founder of Referral Technology, Inc. (RTI), which he founded in 1996. RTI owns and operates PriceQuotes.com, which has applied online mathematical models and performance-based technologies to collect and deliver tens of millions of consumer leads in the automotive, home improvement and insurance space. Previously Dr. Samet was the president of Edmund Publications, and he holds the Webby Award (Best Money Site) for his pioneering design and development of the originalEdmunds.com automobile site. Dr. Samet is a partner in Samet Medical LLC together with his son Ron E. Samet, MD, an anesthesiologist at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and Director, Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine.
Dr. Shung is an engineering professor and director of the Viterbi School of Engineering NIH Resource Center at USC, where he runs the acoustic laboratory. His team cured the miniaturized transducer crystals that were used in the prototype. His knowledge and experience in acoustics are a critical part of the brain trust for Needle Vision.
Arthur Barukh is the owner of Cal Lasers and is an active member of the Needle Vision team. He built the original VARS surface as well as the the virtual CAD version of the technology. His facility has the infrastructure to build the next generation of forward-looking needles and to build them smaller in the future.
Abraham Raphael is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a degree in Film Studies. He has worked on productions for Sony Pictures and variety of television and marketing campaigns. He is currently producing media content and assisting with communications for Needle Vision.
Meet the Advisory Board
Paul is a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He is considered to be the father of needle guidance in the U.S. and has written books on the subject. He has endorsed the Needle Vision approach, and is a supporter and consultant on the project.
Jan is a supply chain and operations executive formerly with Illumina, Amgen, Boston Scientific, Baxter Healthcare, and Endevco.
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