The MIRACLE team is developing and combining multiple innovative technologies in the first mid-infrared attenuated total reflection (MIR-ATR) instrument for arthroscopic use. The novel MIR-ATR probe allows real-time assessment of cartilage’s biochemical composition during minimally invasive arthroscopy, enabling the surgeon to distinguish healthy and damaged tissue based on quantitative information. MIRACLE is implementing an easy user interface for the clinician, which will compile this information into a colour-coded map in correlation to the video imaging currently used in conventional arthroscopy procedure. In addition to providing quantitative evidence of cartilage tissue, the MIRACLE device was developed by mimicking the arthroscopic instrument dimensions and hook-design, allowing its use without major changes on the arthroscopy procedure. The MIR-ATR probe can be inserted in the same hole used with the conventional arthroscopic instrument and hold in place to acquire the data. MIRACLE does not replace the method currently used during arthroscopy, but provides an additional tool for accurate cartilage assessment supporting surgeons’ intraoperative decision-making process and a precise follow-up of emergent regenerative therapies.
MIRACLE can be used in those patient cases where the surgeon wants to assess the quality of cartilage lesion to determine his/her further action. At the present moment, the MIRACLE consortium has identified post-traumatic assessment due to sport or accident injury as the most promising case for MIRACLE use. The identification of different patients and risk groups has not been easy. Information would be valuable, for example when assessing who would benefit from a specific form of treatment. In the future, it may become easier to better evaluate those belonging to risk groups and also to give recommendations on exercising and other life-style-related matters. It is essential to develop new ways of predicting the evolution of diverse situations.