Brain Surgery Made Easier For Docs and Patients


TAMPA, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Eighty-thousand new cases of primary brain tumors could be diagnosed this year. These are cases where abnormal cells start to grow in the brain. For some patients, surgery is the best treatment option. Now, surgeons are getting help from a robot and a very powerful camera.

It was just another day of yardwork for Ken Lambert but then …

“I developed a numbness in my right hand and to the lesser degree in the right side of my face.” Lambert shared.

Turns out, a tumor had formed in his brain.

“Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is always scary,” he continued.

But the tumor was removed with the help of this new robotic camera. USF Florida Hospital’s Dr. Raul Olivera performed the surgery.

“It’s a very novel way to approach brain surgery,” Dr. Olivera said. (Read Full Interview)

Dr. Olivera says the robotic camera gives a wider field of vision, cleaner images and better angles. It makes the surgeries quicker with less risk of tissue damage.

“The robotic changes the dynamic on it because then you have the light source and camera acquiring the images kind of like it becomes your friend and works along with you. You don’t have to tell it what to do,” Dr. Olivera explained.

Before the robotic camera, doctors relied on microscopes and magnifying glasses.

“Technology, despite many of the things that people describe as evil and bad, also has tremendous uses within our lives.” Lambert said.

“This is going to the wave of the future,” said Dr. Olivera.

And Lambert is just glad he can be part of it, green thumb and all.

Right now the camera can be used for patients with brain tumors and intracerebral hemorrhage. The technology used for this robotic camera was derived from the international space station.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Emily Maza Gleason, Field Producer; Travis Bell, Videographer; Hayley Hudson, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #4400


BACKGROUND: About 28,000 new primary brain tumors are diagnosed each year in the United States, but the cause for most are still unknown.  Being between the ages of 65 and 79 is a risk factor as this age group makes up the population of people who are most likely to be diagnosed. The symptoms depend on the type and location of the tumor. While some brain tumors exhibit no signs until they are large enough to cause rapid health decline, others cause symptoms such as headaches, numbness and tingling, seizures, and an inability to concentrate. Benign brain tumors are noncancerous. Malignant primary brain tumors are cancers that originate in the brain, typically grow faster than benign tumors, and aggressively invade surrounding tissue. The most common type of adult brain tumors are gliomas. The second most common type are meningeal tumors.



TREATMENT: The first and oftentimes only needed treatment is surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue. Surgery to the brain requires the removal of part of the skull, a procedure called a craniotomy. After the surgeon removes the tumor, the patient’s own bone will be used to cover the opening in the skull. Raul Olivera, M.D., Assistant Professor of the Department of Neurosurgery and Brain Repair at USF University of South Florida, and Medical Director of the Neurosurgery Service at Florida Hospital, Tampa, says that in the past, a magnifying glass was used to do the approaches, and intracranial surgery was usually done with a microscope. He believes a new method will become the standard.

(Source: & Dr. Olivera)


NEW TECHNOLOGY: Dr. Olivera is talking about a robotic arm with a camera that is used to do brain surgery. He says “with this robotic arm you actually have the ability of pre-determining the angles that you need and the way you want the light and where you want the camera to go. And then it intuitively kind of does it by itself in the middle surgery so it improves your efficiency, improves your ergonomics and improves the visual position of the tumor and the surrounding brain.” This allows for faster and more accurate surgery. The robotic camera learns and follows along with the surgeon, with a powerful focus on the depth of the visual field and shining the light on different angles. It is beneficial to any patient that has a brain tumor or an intra-cerebral hemorrhage. Dr. Olivera stated, “I think that the robotic arm is not only good for what it brings now, but because of the possibilities of the future that can come along with this.”

(Source: Raul Olivera, M.D.)


 Richelle Hoenes


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

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