Continuous blood flow visualization with laser speckle contrast imaging during neurovascular surgery


Significance: Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) has emerged as a promising tool for intraoperative cerebral blood flow (CBF) monitoring because it produces real-time full-field blood flow maps noninvasively and label free.

Aim: We aim to demonstrate the ability of LSCI to continuously visualize blood flow during neurovascular procedures.

Approach: LSCI hardware was attached to the surgical microscope and did not interfere with the normal operation of the microscope. To more easily visualize CBF in real time, LSCI images were registered with the built-in microscope white light camera such that LSCI images were overlaid on the white light images and displayed to the neurosurgeon continuously in real time.

Results: LSCI was performed throughout each surgery when the microscope was positioned over the patient, providing the surgeon with real-time visualization of blood flow changes before, during, and after aneurysm clipping or arteriovenous malformation (AVM) resection in humans. LSCI was also compared with indocyanine green angiography (ICGA) to assess CBF during aneurysm clipping and AVM surgery; integration of the LSCI hardware with the microscope enabled simultaneous acquisition of LSCI and ICGA.

Conclusions: The results suggest that LSCI can provide continuous and real-time CBF visualization without affecting the surgeon workflow or requiring a contrast agent. The results also demonstrate that LSCI and ICGA provide different, yet complementary information about vessel perfusion.

Journal article