We previously developed a magnetic probe equipped with a ring-shaped permanent magnet for detecting magnetic nanoparticle tracer accumulating in the sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs). The magnetic probe enables us to identify SLNs objectively, without the risk of radiation exposure, unlike the conventional technique using dye and radioisotope. A technical challenge of the probe is to reduce the tip diameter of magnet to identify smaller SLNs. In this study, we optimized the size of smaller-tip magnet based on numerical analyses using the finite element method and evaluated the expected sensitivity. According to the analysis results, the optimum tip diameter and length of convex-shaped magnet were 16 mm and 12 mm, respectively. The experimental results showed that the sensitivity of the probe with smaller-tip magnet was comparable to the previous one. We successfully developed a smaller tip magnet, maintaining the sensitivity to magnetic nanoparticles. The proposed probe will be capable of identifying the location of SLNs more easily.
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