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NCH the first in Chicago area to use innovative, 3D neurosurgery technology

March 26, 2018

New tools aid surgeons performing brain and spinal procedures, improving safety and accuracy

What might have seemed like science fiction just a few short years ago is now leading-edge medical technology neurosurgeons at Northwest Community Hospital (NCH) use regularly to perform brain and spinal procedures. NCH is the first hospital in Chicagoland to use both 3D exoscopy and endoscopy technology for neurosurgery.

Using KARL STORZ’s VITOM® 3D and TIPCAM®1 S 3D allows NCH’s neurosurgeons to have improved hand-eye coordination between the tips of their surgical instruments, acting like a natural extension of their fingertips. The innovative scopes and technology help surgeons recognize critical structures and gauge differences in depth in the region they are operating on.

Ryan Zengou, M.D.

“The new technology gives us superior visual detail in 3D and high resolution, which is critical when operating around delicate neurovascular structures,” says Ryan Zengou, M.D., a Neurosurgeon with NCH Medical Group, who performs the procedures. “Being able to view these structures in 3D provides me better visualization, allowing for improved patient safety during the surgery.”

In the past, Dr. Zengou explains, surgeons could see a tumor, but couldn’t always get to it. But now, he can use NICO BrainPath® technology (Nico Corporation) to safely access and remove the tumor from the brain or spine using VITOM® 3D exoscopic visualization to differentiate tumor from healthy tissue.

“This minimally invasive approach can be safer for patients and allows us access to deep structures with minimal disruption of normal brain tissue,” adds Dr. Zengou.

In addition to helping surgeons more safely and precisely perform the procedures, the new technologies offer surgeons greater comfort during surgery. With standard neurological procedures, surgeons twist and crane their necks for hours at a time to look through microscopes at the area they are trying to reach. With this new way of performing the procedure, surgeons keep their heads up to perform procedures and look straight at a monitor much like a TV screen.

Another advantage is the exoscope replaces the need for a traditional surgical microscope to be brought in for the procedure. The exoscope is much smaller, less bulky, provides better light, great depth of focus and is more streamlined in comparison.

Types of procedures the new scopes are used for include:

  • Open craniotomy surgery (removal of a portion of the skull to access the brain)
  • Transnasal endoscopy (surgery performed through the nose to access tumors)
  • Keyhole neurosurgery (procedures requiring small openings behind an ear)
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery

Neurosurgeons perform the procedures to remove:

  • Tumors within the brain, at the base of the skull or near the spine
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Deep brain bleeds

“Dr. Zengou is fast becoming a leader in using this 3D technology for brain and spinal procedures,” says Shaun O’Leary, M.D., Ph.D., FAANS, NCH’s Medical Director of Neurosciences and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Rush University Medical Center. “It’s very exciting for our community to have this kind of expertise and quality so close to home.”

Learn about the NCH Neuroscience Center and how our experts diagnose and treat various neurological conditions.