Biopsies are painful for the patient, and can be difficult to perform accurately. The imaging tools available to help specialists correctly guide needles into patients’ skin are limited, as well. For example, an ultrasound might not show organs clearly, and simply working from an image of a patient’s insides can be tricky. The room for error in this process is risky, too. Even a tiny needle’s deviation at the surface of the patient’s skin is exacerbated the deeper it goes in, which can be painful, damaging and unhelpful.

A solution looks to be on the market in the form of Clear Guide Medical’s SuperProbe device, which fuses the real-time ultrasound image with the clearer picture taken by the higher-resolution modality. A camera attached to an ultrasound probe shows the exact angle of entry, which can be altered until a software program lines up an exact trajectory through a clear image of the target in real time. This also means no expensive hardware setup, which is typical of biopsy capabilities, and hospitals don’t need to recruit specialists with the scarce and sophisticated skills this process might otherwise require.