Wednesday, July 22, 2009

non-invasive brain surgery

A link at InstaPundit brought me to an article about using a combination of ultrasound and MRI technology to perform brain surgery. It'd be nice if this technique could be used on the currently-unreachable parts of Mom's tumor.

The ultrasound beams are focused on a specific point in the brain--the exact location depends on the condition being treated--that absorbs the energy and converts it to heat. This raises the temperature to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit and kills the cells in a region approximately 10 cubic millimeters in volume. The entire system is integrated with a magnetic resonance scanner, which allows neurosurgeons to make sure they target the correct piece of brain tissue. "Thermal images acquired in real time during the treatment allow the surgeon to see where and to what extent the rise in temperature is achieved," says Zadicario.

Learning about these soon-to-arrive technological breakthroughs is a bit like being on a departing train and realizing you've left your family at the station. Mom's cancer chugs ever forward, taking us inexorably away from new developments. Will this tech be available to help her within a year or so?

NB: Be sure to read the second page of the article, which discusses the disadvantages of this new treatment method.


1 comment:

Julian said...

I am not sure of ultrasound wave's efficiency in brain surgery but ultrasound seems more convenient than the laser beams and the scalpels.
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