Ethos Medical

Ethos Medical
Georgia Tech

Ethos Medical has developed a novel needle guidance system to help practitioners navigate needles into the spine. The immediate application for our system is in lumbar punctures, which is a procedure in which a needle is navigated into the spinal canal to diagnose or treat conditions like meningitis and cancer. Lumbar punctures are currently conducted without image guidance. Instead, practitioners have to palpate, or manually feel, a patient’s back for bony landmarks to determine an ideal entry point for the needle. This is extremely difficult, which is why 20% of lumbar punctures are not successfully completed. In these cases, patients have to be referred to the Radiology Department, where the procedure is repeated under x-ray guidance. This inefficiency causes undue pain to patients, frustration to physicians, and substantial financial loss to hospitals. There are 780,000 lumbar punctures performed every year in the U.S, and more than 10 million other procedures are conducted that suffer from similar problems associated with blindly navigating a needle into the spine. We have developed a needle guidance system that interfaces with existing ultrasound devices to provide real time guidance in a way that is easily interpretable. Our needle guide attaches onto an existing ultrasound probe and can track the needle’s trajectory throughout the procedure. Our software then uses a machine-learning algorithm to identify relevant anatomy in the ultrasound image and overlay the needle trajectory so that practitioners can easily see the target and manipulate the needle to ensure a clear path.

Lucas Muller
Cassidy Wang
Dev Mandavia