Health Beat: 3D in the operating room

Health Beat: 3D in the OR

NEW YORK - What do the new hit "Gravity," the blockbuster film "Avatar" and the latest version of "Alice in Wonderland" all have in common with the latest developments in the operating room? The same 3D glasses moviegoers put on for those movies are being used by doctors in the operating room.

"I think it's amazing. I mean to see technology work its miracle on me?" Shantese Wilkinson said.

The miracle is a simple pair of 3D glasses that Wilkinson's surgeon used to remove a tumor from her brain.

"It ultimately would have probably killed her, but it would have blinded her first," said Dr. Mark Eisenberg, chief, department of neurosurgery, LIJ Medical Center and director, Skull Base Center, Cushing Neuroscience Institute, North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Eisenberg opened Wilkinson's skull. An endoscope with a special camera snaked through her nose to her brain. 

The new camera sensor is a microchip located at the end of the endoscope. It allows doctors to see on screen, with true depth perception, what the tumor looks like, and precisely where it is. So, they can remove it more accurately, safely, and get more of the tumor out than before.

"Having the knowledge of the anatomy, having the visual cues, and having it in 3D makes it easier to make a safe dissection," said Dr. B. Todd Schaeffer, associate chairman, department of otolaryngology, North Shore University Hospital Manhasset at North Shore LIJ Health System.

Wilkinson's surgery was a success. Now, the recent college graduate is ready for a little reality of her own as she begins her career as an assistant train conductor.

The camera on the endoscope the doctors used is only four millimeters in size. That's about the size of a drinking straw.

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DOWNLOAD and VIEW the full-length interview with Dr. Mark Eisenberg about 3D in the operating room

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