MUSC neurophysiologist develops new needle used during surgery

Local News

Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – A Lowcountry clinician has developed and patented a new needle used during surgery, making the operating room safer for not only the patient but the entire healthcare team.

During surgery, small needles that traditionally are attached to wires and held down by tape, are used to monitor signals from the brain to ensure no damage is caused. It is typically used during surgery on the brain or spine.

Neurophysiologist Jessica Barley says surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists can be poked by the needles which can not only harm them but the patient.

More than ten years ago, Barley set out to design what is now called the Guardian Needle. The needle is almost like a bandaid, Barley described. If you push down, the needle is activated, and when you pull it off Barley says it will resheet into the case.

“I think the hardest thing was actually believing ‘okay, I’m going to try. I’m going to write it up. I’m going to submit it. I’m gonna believe that somebody would be interested in it.’ A big thing is no one really knows about this field. They have no idea that when they’re going to have surgery that somebody is going to be in there to monitor and protect their nervous system,” Barely stated.

The Guardian Needle made its debut in the OR in December. Barley says she hopes to see it in all operating rooms soon.

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