Smile4Wessex funds new 3D technology at Southampton General Hospital
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I was back at Wessex Neurological Unit today, and once again witnessing the wonder of brain surgery which never ceases to fascinate me.
This time I was watching a trial of a 3D endoscope in action.
The charity for which I am a trustee – Smile 4 Wessex – has agreed to fund the purchase of this amazing piece of equipment. Since the decision was made to fund the equipment the surgeons at the Unit have trialled 3 different 3D endoscopes, and there is one more coming onto the market which they will also be trialling very soon. Hopefully they will be giving us their feedback shortly so that a decision can be made within the next couple of months.
The use of an endoscope in brain surgery means that the surgery is vastly less invasive and gives the patient a much reduced recovery period.
In open brain surgery a piece of the patient's skull has to be removed so that the surgeon can access the brain and, for example, remove a tumour.
Using an endoscope, the surgeon can gain entry to the brain by running the endoscope through the patient's nose and gaining access through the sinus area. Although this sounds pretty gruesome, it is a lot less gruesome than open brain surgery!
On the monitors I was able to see in both HD and 3D, on monitors which were side by side, the intricate movements of the surgeon's tools as they delicately found their way through the nasal passages and into the lower part of the brain where the problem for this patient had occurred. The surgeon switched between the HD and 3D views depending which one was best for him as he proceeded.
I watched in amazement as the path along the nasal passages opened up in 3D. I have never been over-impressed with 3D cinema or TV, but this was truly incredible to see.
Very exciting times as we near decision time. It is really pioneering stuff as there are very few of these 3D endoscopes in use in the world, let alone in this country.
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