From Extreme Tech
” The integrity of our circulatory system is maintained by critically balancing the tendency to leak, with that to clot. In an intracerebral hemorrhage, blood leaks into the brain, and then forms a massive clot. Treatment with drugs is a precarious path because those that break down clots can also make any residual leak worse. A minimally invasive way to get to the problem mechanically, rather than chemically is now being developed by a group of researchers at Vanderbilt University. With a steerable robotic device that is introduced to the brain much like an arthroscopic probe, the researchers can navigate around critical structures to get to the clot, and then suction it out.
The researchers call their instrument an active cannula, and it is basically a series of nested tubes with different curvatures. By rotating, extending and retracting the tubes, the tip of the probe can be controlled as it is introduced to the brain under the guidance of CT. To look at the device, it does not appear all too complex, and if I may be forgiven, perhaps even a little bulky. With a diameter of 50 thousandths of an, inch there is likely room for further miniaturization, and addition of other tools. The team would like to add ultrasound imaging, perhaps using a probe-mounted sound source much like that commonly used to generate a transesophageal echocardiogram of the heart.”