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Entries in Brain Surgery (6)

Wednesday
May092012

Houston Hospital to Live Tweet Brain Surgery

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- In February, surgeons at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston live tweeted during heart surgery.  And on Wednesday, the hospital is moving on up -- to the brain.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Dr. Dong Kim, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, will remove a brain tumor from a 21-year-old patient and broadcast it via Twitter and YouTube.

“What I do tomorrow can be seen anywhere. We’re using a lot of technology, but I think the thing that helps with this is that we are using an operating microscope and there’s a natural recording mechanism that can be tweeted,” Dr. Dong Kim told ABC News.

While there will be a lot of medical technology in the operating room, including the video feed from the microscope, Memorial Hermann has also outfitted the OR for instant social media sharing.

A colleague of Kim’s will tweet live from the OR on a laptop, a video camera will capture overview shots of the surgery, and a still photographer will be taking digital photos.  All the material, including pictures, video, and text updates will be broadcast to Twitter, YouTube, TwitPic, CoverItLive and Pinterest.

[ CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW THE LIVE TWEET ]

But the purpose isn’t just to show off what technology can do these days, it’s to teach students and help patients, Dr. Kim said.

“The main reason I wanted to do this was for the educational possibilities.  I spend a lot of my time with patients on what to expect and what the steps are,” Kim said.  “A lot of anxious patients want to know exactly what happens.  With this they will be able to see what happens.”

The patient being operated on Wednesday has a benign cavernous angioma tumor on the right side of her brain; Dr. Kim hopes that the removal will prevent seizures.

You can follow @houstonhospital and #mhbrain on Twitter Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Hospital to Live Tweet Brain Surgery

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- In February, surgeons at Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston live tweeted during heart surgery. And Wednesday, the hospital is moving on up — to the brain.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. ET, Dr. Dong Kim, a neurosurgeon at the hospital, will remove a brain tumor from a 21-year-old patient and broadcast it via Twitter and YouTube.

“What I do tomorrow can be seen anywhere. We’re using a lot of technology, but I think the thing that helps with this is that we are using an operating microscope and there’s a natural recording mechanism that can be tweeted,” Dr. Dong Kim told ABC News.

While there will be a lot of medical technology in the operating room, including the video feed from the microscope, Memorial Hermann has also outfitted the OR for instant social media sharing.

A colleague of Kim’s will tweet live from the OR on a laptop, a video camera will capture overview shots of the surgery, and a still photographer will be taking digital photos. All the material, including pictures, video, and text updates will be broadcast to Twitter, YouTube, TwitPic, CoverItLive, and Pinterest.

But the purpose isn’t just to show off what technology can do these days, it’s to teach students and help patients, Dr. Kim said.

“The main reason I wanted to do this was for the educational possibilities. I spend a lot of my time with patients on what to expect and what the steps are,” Kim said. “A lot of anxious patients want to know exactly what happens. With this they will be able to see what happens.”

The patient being operated on Wednesday has a benign avernous angioma tumor on the right side of her brain; Dr. Kim hopes that the removal will prevent seizures.

You can follow @houstonhospital and #mhbrain on Twitter tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan242012

Patients' Tremors Stopped After New Non-Invasive Brain Surgery

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Phyllis Walker's hands used to shake so badly she had to stop eating at the dinner table with her family.

"As a normal thing, I pretty much ate over the sink, so that I wouldn't spill things," the 77-year-old grandmother from Ivor, Va., said.  "I could not use a fork and knife, couldn't -- just didn't want to sit at the table and be embarrassed."

Just four hours away in Burtonsville, Md., 56-year-old Dot Highberg was also losing control of her hands.  She tried medication after medication, each working for awhile, but eventually, the shaking would return with a vengeance.

"The tremors were just getting worse and worse.  It wasn't getting better and it wasn't going to get better," Highberg said.  "It looked like I was gonna be on medication for the rest of my life."

Diagnosed with essential tremors, a neurological disorder that causes patients to lose control of their hands, heads and voices, both women were desperate for help.  For them and the estimated 10 million other Americans who suffer from the disorder, life was a struggle.

Until one day they both got the chance to take back control of their lives.  Dr. Jeff Elias, associate professor of neurology at the University of Virginia, and his team were beginning a clinical trial for patients suffering from essential tremors -- using a technique stripped right from a scene in a science fiction movie.  Elias was planning to use ultrasound waves, focused to a specific point located by using an MRI machine, to treat the part of the brain that was causing the shaking.

"We're able to focus these 1,024 ultrasound beams to a single point and -- treat or -- or disrupt a lot of the tremor cells that are causing the problem," he said. "Essentially tremor's a neuro-degenerative problem, like Parkinson's disease.  And it probably develops from an abnormal circuitry in the brain.  And we're able to treat that circuit and restore it to a more normal condition."

Walker, who learned about the surgery from her daughter-in-law, immediately took interest.  She was accepted into the trial and underwent the procedure in August 2011 for the shaking in her right hand.  The results were immediately clear -- once the four-hour procedure had ended, Walker's shaking had stopped.

For Highberg, who underwent the procedure in October, the surgery was a miracle.

"I was able to eat fruit without it falling off of the spoon, without it falling off the fork, I was able to drink without using both hands and without shaking," she said, amazed that she could complete such a simple task.  "It was wonderful."

The procedure was unique not only in that it could safely and immediately deliver results, but also because it's reportedly pain-free and there is virtually no recovery time.  Patients were required to stay overnight in the hospital for observation, but both were able to walk, talk and perform tasks that they weren't able to in years after they left the MRI machine.

For Elias, a successful trial using focused ultrasound surgery is just the tip of the iceberg.

"We could send ultrasound waves to almost any organ of the body.  So cancers, strokes, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy.  They're really all potentially treatable with this type of technology," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug092011

After Brain Surgery, U.K. Gradeschooler Can't Stop Giggling

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Seven-year-old Enna Stephens is facing a daunting 16 months of chemotherapy and radiation after doctor's removed a tumor from her brain, but thanks to a bizarre side effect of the surgery: all she can do is laugh about it.

Enna suffers from pseudobulbar affect (PBA), a neurological disorder brought on by nerve damage that makes it difficult to control one's emotional response. Some patients with PBA cry uncontrollably, others get angry, but for Enna, it has manifested as frequent bouts of the giggles.

While PBA can cause normal reactions, such as a chuckle following a joke, to become exaggerated, the emotional responses sometimes run contrary to the actual emotion the patient is feeling, or have nothing to do with it at all.

"Different patients suffer it in different ways," says Dr. Brian Greenwald, medical director of brain injury rehabilitation at the Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Center in New York City, who did not treat Enna. "Sometimes they'll be hysterically crying but not actually feel upset. Sometimes they are angry but it comes out as laughter. It can be incredibly frustrating to live with because it starts to interfere with one's social and professional life," he says.

In cases of traumatic brain injury, PBA can be a sign of damage to the brain and will often subside with time as the brain heals. For those with degenerative conditions, such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, however, PBA tends to worsen over time.

According to Enna's doctors, there is something to smile about: they believe the cancer was completely removed and there is an 80 percent chance it won't return, doctors told the U.K. press.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb102011

Brain Surgery Patient Sent Home in Cab, Ends Up on Steet in Gown

Photo Courtesy - KOMO-TV(SEATTLE) -- The ear-to-ear wound on James Absten's shaved head is still fresh, held together by a row of staples. Just last week, Absten, a 58-year-old man from Puyallup, Wash., had a fourth round of surgery for a brain tumor.

Now the medical center that treated Absten is under scrutiny, after sending him home from a post-operative check-up in a cab. The driver reportedly left him alone on a curb at 10:30 p.m., blocks away from the care facility where he was recovering from the surgery.

"He was in the hospital gown, only socks. It was wet rainy and cold out," a neighbor who found Absten told ABC News affiliate KOMO 4.

"I was, I was confused," Absten told KOMO.

Absten said he couldn't remember the address of the care facility after leaving the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle last Thursday, so he guessed.

Absten was safely returned to his nearby care facility, Linden Grove Health Care Center.

Although Absten arrived at last Thursday's checkup in a specialized ambulance, the hospital sent him on his way with a cab voucher.

"We apologize to the patient and his family," Tina Mankowski, a spokesperson for the hospital, told KOMO 4. "This is not the way we discharge our patients."

Mankowski said an investigation into the incident was currently underway, and they agreed to update the Absten family on their findings by the end of this week and develop an action plan to prevent future miscommunications by the end of the month.

The Absten family has also filed a complaint with the state Health Department.

"I just don't want this to have to happen to anybody else," Absten's son, James Absten Jr., told KOMO.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Surviving Gunshot to Brain Is Possible, Say Doctors

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Despite being shot in the head with a bullet that went through her brain, it's entirely possible for Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to survive her injury, neurosurgeons believe -- though without knowing the trajectory of the bullet, they say, it's difficult to predict how fully she will recover.

Twenty-two-year-old Jared Lee Loughner allegedly shot Giffords and several other people at a political event outside an Arizona grocery store Saturday morning. Six people have died, including a federal judge and a child.

Giffords survived and is now receiving treatment at Tucson's University Medical Center. The medical center's trauma director, Dr. Peter Rhee, says he is "optimistic" about Giffords' chances of survival.

There are a number of different scenarios that make it possible to survive a gunshot to the brain.

"If it's a glancing blow that injures the skull and a small amount of brain and doesn't go directly through the whole brain is one case," said Dr. Paul Vesta, director of neurocritical care at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. "People can also survive with parts of the brain missing."

Giffords is at risk for seizures, a stroke and more bleeding.

"[There will also be] two weeks of dealing of ICU [intensive care unit] issues, infections and pulmonary embolism [clot to the lungs]," said Dr. John Boockvar, associate professor of neurological surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York.

After that, doctors say it will take a couple of months to determine if there has been any loss of brain function and how extensive it is. The fact that Gifford is only 40 years old works in her favor, since younger people tend to recover more easily.

"It is entirely possible to make a complete recovery," said Vesta.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio