Visualization Markers for Implantable Medical Devices and/or Tools
Publication Date: 2004-Feb-02
The IP.com Prior Art Database
Markings are added to implantable stimulators and related tools to allow for their identification and orientation determined through the use of external visualization devices such as X-ray systems including fluoroscopes and X-ray imagers, ultrasound, and MRI devices.
Background & Summary
This invention relates to techniques for visualizing medical tools and implantable medical devices, including electrical stimulators, by means of a set of markers visible to X-ray devices, flouroscopes, ultrasound devices, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) devices, and other visualization devices.
With the development of implantable electrical stimulators, such as deep
brain stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, pacemakers, defibrillators, microstimulators,
and other implantable devices that are relatively small in size, the
possibility of having more than one implant in a small area of the body has
increased. It is expected that when
several of such devices are implanted in a limited area, it would be difficult for
a physician to identify them later on.
It is also expected that it would be relatively challenging to navigate
an implantation or explantation tool related to such devices in positional
relation to anatomical landmarks and the devices themselves.
Identification of the particular device and/or tool might be necessary in cases such as when the position of the device will be measured or a diagnostic of the device is of interest or for extraction of the device.
Another important issue is that for cases in which the positioning and orientation of the device (such as during a minimally invasive explantation procedure), it may become necessary to use visualization techniques that can include but are not limited to X-ray devices, fluoroscopes, ultrasound and MRI. Normally these imagers will provide a 2 dimensional representation of the volume being visualized, making it difficult to identify the orientation or precise location of the device or tool.
The present invention describes a way to, by external means, identify, differentiate, and estimate the orientation and location of implantable medical devices and tools in relation to each other and in relation to their immediate environment within the body.
Description of Invention
In a particular case, the following invention applies to a miniature electrical stimulator and related tools. The current embodiment of the stimulator can be as small as, for example, 3 mm in diameter and between 2 and 3 cm in length.
The following invention applies to adding markings to implantable stimulators
and related tools to allow for their identification and orientation
determination through the use of external visualization devices such as X-ray
systems including fluoroscopes and X-ray imagers, ultrasound, and MRI devices.
Markers that are identifiable by one or more of those imagers are placed on the device and related tools. For X-ray imagers radio-opaque markers can be used. For ultrasound, ultrasound reflecting materials can be used. For MRI, materials that exhibit ferro-magnetic, paramagnetic or diamagnetic properties can be used.
In one embodiment of the invention, only one type of marker is used that will visible...