REIMS Project - iKnife device arrives!

Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) is now home to an innovative surgical device, the ‘iKnife’, which marks a significant advancement in medical technology that could potentially improve outcomes in burn wound surgery.

The ‘iKnife’ device has been provided to us by Waters Corporation (Global Research Segment (clinical)) with support from Scientronic Instrument Services Australia.

At the forefront of our burn injury research is the 'REIMS' project, an innovative research to be conducted with initial funding support from the Cynthia Banham Burn Injury Research Fellowship. This project, titled 'Data-assisted Burns Debridement using Rapid Evaporative Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (REIMS)', holds immense promise in enhancing surgical outcomes for burn patients by providing real-time tissue analysis during wound debridement.

The first phase of our study at FSH involves meticulously analysing skin tissue that has already been removed during surgery using REIMS. This ex vivo approach, conducted outside the operating room, allows for a thorough evaluation of the technology's accuracy in distinguishing healthy from damaged tissue. By comparing REIMS' analysis with traditional assessment methods, we aim to validate the device's effectiveness and reliability.

Traditional burn surgery relies heavily on the surgeon's expertise to visually distinguish between healthy and damaged tissue. Here, REIMS steps in, promising to enhance the precision of surgical debridement, providing real-time information on the skin chemistry and any bacteria that may be present.

This preliminary research is crucial, laying the groundwork for the future application of REIMS directly in surgical settings. The goal is to ensure the utmost safety and efficacy of the device before it is used in real-time surgeries. Collecting pilot data on REIMS' ability to accurately identify tissue types is a vital step towards minimising the risk of removing healthy tissue or leaving behind damaged tissue, which can significantly impact healing and recovery.

As we embark on this exciting research phase, we are keenly aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Success in this preliminary stage is pivotal for our progress. However, to move forward and integrate REIMS into live surgical environments, we are in need of funding support. Our team are actively seeking opportunities from grants such as the Future Research Innovation Fund, recently launched by Minister Roger Cook and other funding sources.

We look forward to exploring these possibilities and making strides in surgical innovation with the continued support of our community. Please get in touch with Diane Lim at if you are interested in supporting this project.

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