1 May 2020
Significance: Although the clinical potential for Raman spectroscopy (RS) has been anticipated for decades, it has only recently been used in neurosurgery. Still, few devices have succeeded in making their way into the operating room. With recent technological advancements, however, vibrational sensing is poised to be a revolutionary tool for neurosurgeons.
Aim: We give a summary of neurosurgical workflows and key translational milestones of RS in clinical use and provide the optics and data science background required to implement such devices.
Approach: We performed an extensive review of the literature, with a specific emphasis on research that aims to build Raman systems suited for a neurosurgical setting.
Results: The main translatable interest in Raman sensing rests in its capacity to yield label-free molecular information from tissue intraoperatively. Systems that have proven usable in the clinical setting are ergonomic, have a short integration time, and can acquire high-quality signal even in suboptimal conditions. Moreover, because of the complex microenvironment of brain tissue, data analysis is now recognized as a critical step in achieving high performance Raman-based sensing.
Conclusions: The next generation of Raman-based devices are making their way into operating rooms and their clinical translation requires close collaboration between physicians, engineers, and data scientists.