An innovation platform sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation
3 Sonic – Rigshospitalet


Oral cavity cancer is the second most common head and neck cancer in Denmark, and it accounts for approximately 900,000 cases worldwide each year. Surgery is the primary treatment, especially for younger patients and early-stage cancers.

The Inspiration Behind the Innovation

The aim of cancer surgery is to achieve complete microscopic clearance of the tumor with an adequate margin of healthy tissue around it. It can be difficult to accurately identify a tumor's boundaries during surgery, and inadequate surgical margins have been estimated to be as high as 44 percent for oral cancer. Inadequate surgical margins can significantly reduce the survival rate and often necessitate additional surgical intervention or radiotherapy.

The Innovation 

3Sonic will provide surgeons with a 3D ultrasound visualisation of the resected tumor, enabling them to evaluate the surgical margins immediately while they're still in the operating room. The 3Sonic technology aims to improve precision during cancer surgery, lowering the rate of positive margins and reducing the necessity for repeat surgeries and subsequent radiotherapy. As a result, more patients will survive cancer and return to their normal lives more quickly. In addition, fewer patients will need repeated treatment, leading to cost savings for the healthcare system while freeing up time to treat new patients.

Though the 3Sonic project currently focuses on oral cancer patients, the technique has potential applicability in other soft-tissue cancers, significantly broadening its impact and benefiting a larger patient segment.

The Team

Fatemeh Makouei: Biomedical Engineer, Assistant Professor; Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery & Audiology; Rigshospitalet

Tobias Todsen: Head and Neck Surgery Consultant, Associate Professor; Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery & Audiology; Rigshospitalet