Biopsy and Retrieval Tools

Once a target within an object has been visualized and recorded, the research goals may call for biopsy of ancient tissue or artifact retrieval. Various tools are available for these procedures. Tissue biopsy can be carried out much as it is in living subjects, and a wide variety of tools are available. Fine needle biopsy is the method of choice in that it leaves the target organ well intact. However, the yield from fine needle biopsy is often too small for analysis. Ancient tissue is dry and brittle, and these conventional biopsy methods often produce a low yield. Alternate tools with larger retrieval capacity are often necessary. Long, narrow tweezers or varied forceps can be employed.

Some industrial VEs do not have a biopsy channel, as do their medical counterparts. To remedy this, two methods are available. The first is to affix a biopsy channel to the external surface of the VE (Figure 4.18). This, of course, increases the diameter of the system and may decrease flexibility regarding insertion routes. The second approach is similar to the laparoscopic medical approach in that visualization is provided from one point of entry, while the biopsy tool is introduced into the field of view from another point of entry (Figure 4.19). We have been successful in extracting a large renal stone using this method from an 18th century mummy discovered in a crypt beneath the Church of the Holy Trinity in Popoli, Italy. Artifact retrieval can be accomplished using these same procedures.

Laparoscopic Biopsy Approach illu visualization

Laparoscopic Biopsy Approach illu

Body surface visualization

Emitted illumination

Biopsy/retrieval tool

Body surface

Emitted illumination

— Target within body

Figure 4.19 Diagram of laparoscopic biopsy approach.

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