LOS ANGELES. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The surgical theater looks like the ultimate video game, and, in fact, the gaming industry’s multi-billion dollar investment in the technology helped make it happen. Brain surgeons at UCLA are using virtual reality to make operations infinitely more precise and less time-consuming.
Lucas Deines is grateful he can play cards with his kids, Kai and Jamie today. Two years ago, doctors found a one-inch tumor in his brain.
Deines told Ivanhoe, “I had no idea what to expect. I was scared to death. I thought the worst. I started googling it, which just reinforced the worst.”
Neil Martin, M.D., the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at UCLA in Los Angeles, used surgical theater virtual reality to map Deines’ tumor. It took 2D images from MRIs and CT scans to create a 3D reconstruction of the inside of Deines’ head.
“As somebody who’s done about 5,000 operations, there’s no question in my mind this is tremendously useful and improves the quality and efficiency of the surgery that I’m doing,” said Dr. Martin. (Read Full Interview)
Dr. Martin virtually toured Deines’ brain before surgery with hand controllers and a headset. He saw the tumor was wrapped around the carotid artery.
Dr. Martin said, “It’s extremely helpful. To explore it in three dimensions is almost like walking around it, so that you can see the angles, the proximity, the relationship between normal structures and the abnormality.”
Someday, Dr. Martin sees medical residents perfecting virtual reality surgeries before ever getting into an operating room.
Surgeons are using the surgical theater system at UCLA, Stanford, NYU, the Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai and Case Western.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Wendy Chioji, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Rusty Reed, Videographer.
TOPIC: Surgical Theater Saves Brains
REPORT: MB #4196
BACKGROUND: Primary brain tumors are malignant tumors that begin specifically in the brain. It is the most common cause of cancer-related death in adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 and the most common cancer occurring among 15-19 year olds. Malignant brain tumors can occur at any age, there is no specific reason why they appear and the symptoms depend on its size and location. The most common symptoms of brain tumors include headaches; numbness or tingling in the arms or legs; seizures, memory problems; mood and personality changes; balance and walking problems; nausea and vomiting; changes in speech, vision, or hearing.
TREATMENTS: Treatments for brain tumors depend on the type or grade, its location, its size and the health and age of the patient. The three treatments that exist to treat brain tumors are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; most of the time patients get a combination of all three. Surgery happens to be the first and most effective treatment for patients; nevertheless, surgery also carries a lot of risk since the brain is such a delicate organ.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Virtual reality by Surgical Theater is an application that allows doctors to take two dimensional traditional scans, MRIs and CTs, and turn them in to realistic three dimensional reconstructions. This technology allows brain surgeons to completely understand the tumor they have to extract, which allows them to envision and plan a surgery in the most effective and safe way. The technology doesn’t only help doctors; it also allows the patient to understand how their procedure is going to be performed step by step. Furthermore, virtual reality will most likely turn into a surgical planning tool. It can be implemented in more surgical specialties, like cardiology and spinal surgery. Virtual reality was developed at UCLA. It’s now in use at several major medical centers around the country including Stanford, Mayo Clinic, NYU, Mt. Sinai, and Case Western Reserve.
(Source: Dr. Neil Martin)
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