July 16, 2009

3-D mapping helps in brain tumor’s removal

University of Cincinnati neurosurgeons say they used a new technology involving the creation of a 3-D map to remove a large tumor from a patient's brain.

The surgeons used multiple brain scans that were fused and installed into a surgical guidance computer, whose function is similar to that of a global-positioning system. By revealing the fist-sized tumor's relationship to all the functional centers, electrical pathways, arteries and veins in the patient's brain, the surgeons were able to chart a safe pathway to the tumor.

The surgery was performed at Cincinnati's University Hospital by an eight-member team from the Brain Tumor Center at the university's Neuroscience Institute.

This marks the culmination of one of the most important developments in brain tumor surgery in the last 100 years, said Dr. John Tew, a neurosurgeon, professor and clinical director of the Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. James Leach, an associate professor of neuroradiology, performed the processing and fusion of images.

The ability to completely map the brain and to understand before we operate where the tumor lies in relation to important structures is a milestone in our use of digital computer technology to heighten patient safety during complex brain tumor surgery, Tew said.