Addenbrooke's Hospital pioneers 3D vision system for brain surgery in the UK

14 November 2012

Surgeons at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge have used 3D vision technology in neurosurgery for the first time in the UK. The system enables the viewing of extremely detailed operations, such as brain tumour, vascular and skull base surgeries. The Hospital has already operated on 50 patients using the system.

Mr Thomas Santarius, consultant neurosurgeon said: “Anatomy is vital in neurosurgery. While in surgeries you can usually obtain a greater anatomical context by lifting a muscle or a piece of bowel and see what’s behind in brain surgery it is rarely possible to move the brain tissue or other structures without unwanted consequences. So you need to develop an X-ray vision to perform neurosurgery.”

The technology is mainly used for training purposes, with up to 10 trainees able to observe the surgery at a time. Using 3D glasses they are able to see what traditionally only one or two surgeons could observe through a microscope. After the surgery, students, trainee and senior surgeons can see the video footage use it for teaching and discussion with colleagues. This enhances and speeds up learning of operative neurosurgery, sharing experience and personal improvement.

Mr Santarius said: “3D technology helps to maximise learning yield per unit of time. This is particularly relevant in the context of recent reduction of working hours and overall length of training. Junior doctors and medical students are more involved with the surgery and so they get trained better and faster. This is good news for their future patients.”



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