Neurosurgery is a complex process that requires years of studying and practicing. New advances in technology encourage the development of this area of surgery. These new instruments make the work of neurosurgeons easier and ensure the accuracy of the surgery. Before, during and after the surgery, neurosurgeons rely on technology to help them perform with accuracy and skill.
Photo by Markus Spike, CC0 1.0
Functional MRI (fMRI)
You wouldn’t trip a road trip without having an idea of the routes and roads to take ahead. Chances are, you would want a map. Neurosurgeons are the same way. fMRI is used to map the brain before surgeries. It is able to measure the blood flow in brain providing the doctor with information on brain activity.
Doctors utilize fMRI to determine where in the brain all the activity is coming from. Certain parts of the brain regulate different functions such as thought and speech. fMRI is also used to determine the extent of the damage done to the brain from things such as trauma, stroke or degenerative diseases.
Intraoperative MRI (iMRI)
One of the concerns neurosurgeons have is damaging other areas of the brain. This can be especially difficult during the removal of tumors. Surgeons face the removal of tumors from the spine and the brain; these can be difficult procedures.
Surgeons use iMRI to help reduce the chance of damaging other areas. It also increases the chances of a successful removal of the tumors. iMRI is also used for epilepsy surgery.
Virtual Reality Technology
A successful neurosurgeon has carefully laid plans for the surgery. The brain is a delicate organ and is difficult to navigate at times. The last thing a surgeon wants to do is make a mistake. This is why virtual reality is becoming one of the most popular advancements in neurosurgery.
Before, surgeons had to rely on two dimensional images. However, the brain is 3D. Virtual reality makes the images come to life; the surgeon is able to have an immersive and interactive experience. This means the doctor can navigate through the surgery before it takes place. It helps eliminate some of the split second guesswork and is an amazing planning tool.
A surgical microscope is used during an operation to perform microsurgery. Some areas in the body can be extremely small, especially in the brain. The magnification of surgical microscopes range from 4x to 40x.
One of the benefits of a surgical microscope is that they are easy to sterilize which is great in a surgical setting. Surgical microscopes mean that surgeons can work as precisely and smoothly as possible. It allows them to see deep into cavities or spaces that they may have struggled to see before.
Some surgical microscopes are mounted on a stand and the surgeon will sit beside it. Other microscopes hang from the ceiling and are able to move to the place needed. Some surgeons now have the ability to wear them on their head. This allows them to have both hands available while navigating. This technology is widely used in many surgical practices.
Robotic surgery is becoming more popular in the world of neurosurgery. It allows the surgeon to perform surgery on a much smaller scale, which is beneficial when working on the brain. Using a robot means that the surgery is performed with more accuracy and precision. The chance of a mistake is far less when using robotic surgery.
One of the major benefits is that it reduces any chance of surgeon tremors. Brain tissue is very delicate and the need for still hands is crucial. Robots are also able to intake and process more data during the surgery. Surgeons are able to use images to guide the robot throughout the surgery.
Technology is growing by leaps and bounds in every area of life. The world of neurosurgery is no different; each year there are new ways to better the surgeries. Technology is bettering neurosurgery and increasing the rates of successful surgeries.2016-07-09