Posted: Oct 24, 2012 7:29 AM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
Updated: Oct 24, 2012 10:05 AM
BILLINGS - A state-of-the-art machine is now allowing local surgeons to view real-time imaging during brain surgery.
It's an exciting time in the operating room at St. Vincent Healthcare.
"It allows us to do a lot of things that we weren't able to do before and a lot of things at much lower risk," explained St. Vincent Healthcare Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Copeland.
What Dr. Copeland is referring to is the O-arm Multi-Dimensional Surgical Imaging System; brand new technology recently used for the first time in the Rock Mountain Region during neurosurgery at St. Vincent Healthcare.
"That machine allows us to do something really small and know if it's in the right spot," Dr. Copeland pointed out.
The O-arm enhances the surgeon's ability to complete complex and minimally invasive procedures, by providing real time CT imaging throughout the operation.
"To have imaging right there in the operating room, that we can merge with our MRI scan and have both MRI and CT data there in the operating room, is just dramatically different and increases our capabilities," said. Dr. Copeland.
This allows the surgeon to compare CT imaging before, during and after the procedure to make sure they've had a successful operation, while the patient is still on the operating table.
"Up until this point we had to wait until another time to find out if we got all the bad stuff out or is the thing that we put in in the place we wanted it to be," stated the neurosurgeon. "By the time you find out afterwards, you're kind of committed already, you have to do another operation."
If not for the technology of the O-arm, Dr. Copeland's patient, a 78-year-old woman who had a cist on her brain that was collecting fluid, would have needed a new operation every six months to drain the fluid.
"We were able to use computer guidance to put a small catheter in it and guide that catheter out and under her skin into a little plastic bubble so that every six weeks or so we can just stick a little, tiny needle under her skin, drain the fluid and send her on her way," Dr. Copeland explained.
It's an outcome that wasn't even close to possible when Dr. Copeland began his career as a neurosurgeon 15 years ago, but now he's working in an O.R. with the O-arm and he couldn't imagine it any other way.
"That immediate feedback of, 'Yes, we got all the clot out or yes, the catheter is right where you want it,' why wouldn't I want that information? I can't think of why not."