Multiple-technology teamwork eases brain surgery risks
GAINESVILLE, Florida (CNN) -- The field of brain surgery isn't just for doctors anymore.
At the University of Florida Brain Institute, researchers are tapping the skills of wide range of specialists, from physicists to mechanical engineers, to make this risky practice safer and more effective.
Dr. Parker Mickle the University of Florida's Shands Hospital is convinced that medicine is entering a whole new realm because medical doctors are no longer trying to "do it all."
"Every day we see the physicist, the neurobiologist, the neurophysiologist, and we deal with the same problems, and it results in improved care for our patients," Mickle says.
Doctors say it can make the critical difference between knowing and not knowing where you have to go.
Tools used by the coalition of experts include enhanced imaging techniques, such as CAT scans and magnetic resonance images (MRIs).
Medical physicist Frank Bova uses tools ranging from optics to math and MRIs to help surgeons choose the most effective procedures -- such as determining what route to take to reach and remove a tumor.
"By going to the computer and asking it to show me the pathway, it will start at the patient's surface and allow me to advance, and allow the surgeon to examine the tissues that he will be going through in the procedure," Bova says.
The Institute also has tapped into the benefits of wedding medical technology with telecommunications.
Dr. Richard Fessler, a professor of brain and spinal surgery at the University of Florida, touts the benefits of videotaping and audiotaping a surgical procedure as it's being performed in the operating room. The procedure is broadcast live to surgeons at a different location.
Doctors at the university say this consiliance has transformed neurosurgery from a specialty with a high mortality rate into a more precise science. And the end result is a higher percentage of patients who recover fully.
Correspondent Marsha Walton contributed to this report.
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