Helping Surgeons See in 3-D
Ask surgeons what superpower would make their job easier, and they’ll almost all say the same thing: X-ray vision. Inderbir Gill, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, can’t grant X-ray vision, but he’s helping surgeons see targets, such as tumors, more clearly. He developed software that uses “augmented reality” technology to create virtual 3-D images of tumors and organs with color coding to show surgeons exactly where to operate.
Watch Watch a video of augmented reality technology.
Hip to a New Kind of Surgery
An alternative to total hip replacement surgery is giving some younger, more active patients a chance to return to an energetic lifestyle. It’s called hip resurfacing. Unlike hip replacement, which involves removing a portion of the healthy thigh bone, resurfacing shaves off only the damaged top end. As a result, patients retain normal hip mechanics and bone thickness.
See a video about hip resurfacing.
A high-tech tool is helping doctors eliminate threatening brain tumors without invasive surgery. The tool, called “gamma knife,” isn’t a knife at all. Rather, it’s a large machine that kills tumors using precisely aimed beams of gamma radiation. Low-energy rays pass harmlessly through a patient’s scalp, skull and overlying brain tissue, meeting at the exact site of the tumor. Energy converges to deliver a powerful dose of radiation. The tumor is effectively killed, and over months, the growth may shrink or disappear.
Watch a video about gamma knife surgery.
Ali Rezai, M.D., is a pioneer in the field of deep brain stimulation, a procedure that involves threading fine wires into the brain to stimulate key areas. The procedure is being used to treat conditions ranging from depression to severe brain trauma.
Read an interview with Dr. Rezai in the current issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.
Watch a video about deep brain stimulation for depression.
Giving the Voice a Hand
For 10 months, Doug Macarthy, a veteran highway patrol dispatcher could barely produce a whisper. He couldn’t work, and his wife had to translate everyday conversations for him. He visited doctor after doctor trying to get his voice back. Mr. Macarthy’s story is typical, says Claudio Milstein, Ph.D., a Cleveland Clinic voice specialist. “Some of these patients have been sent to psychiatrists because the condition is thought to be in their head,” he says, pointing out that he can’t always determine why his patients have lost their voices. What he finds, though, is a procedure called digital laryngeal manipulation often helps them speak again.
See a video about digital laryngeal manipulation, featuring Mr. Macarthy.
Back to the Future
It sounds like something out of Star Trek: A tiny chip implanted in the body sends information about injury and postsurgical healing to a handheld device, giving doctors a clearer idea of what’s wrong and how to fix it. The idea is no longer the stuff of fantasy. Biomedical engineers at Cleveland Clinic are partnering with spine doctors to develop tiny sensors, measuring about a tenth of an inch, to help diagnose back pain.
See a video about spine sensor technology.
Holly L. Thacker, M.D., founder of the Women’s Health Center at Cleveland Clinic, has written Women’s Health: Your Body, Your Hormones, Your Choices, A Cleveland Clinic Guide.
Read an excerpt from the book.
Read a Q&A with Dr. Thacker in the current issue of Cleveland Clinic Magazine.