Removing Brain Tumors With New Hybrid Surgery

Posted at 8:27 PM, Jan 27, 2016

Surgery is traditionally used to remove brain tumors, but even the best surgeons can make mistakes leaving patients with complications like nerve damage, hearing loss, numbness or brain stem injury.

Now, new cutting edge technology is guiding neurosurgeons in the operating room, helping them remove tumors like never before.

Steve Mores loves beating away at the drums. He’s been playing with the band “Prairie Surfers” for nearly 20 years.

But Steve’s gig was nearly up two years ago. It started with a toothache and numbness, then.

“Headaches, very bad nausea; so, pretty much sick every day,” Mores told Ivanhoe.

He lost 30 pounds -- diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Radiation was supposed to shrink it, but instead the tumor grew.

“I thought my hearing was getting bad because I was a drummer. It was getting bad because the tumor was pushing against those nerves in my ear,” Mores said.

That’s when Steve turned to Orin Bloch, MD, Neurosurgeon at Northwestern University in Chicago for surgery.

“If you try to take out too much tumor, close to a critical structure, a patient can get hurt,” Dr. Bloch told Ivanhoe.
Now, new adaptive hybrid surgery is helping patients like Steve.

“We can use a computer system with a patient’s preoperative MRI scan as a GPS while we are the doing surgery,” Dr. Bloch explained.

And through 3D imaging, minimizing the amount they remove. Decisions can be made during surgery to use radiation to control what’s left.

“This is hopefully going to revolutionize the way we treat these kinds of tumors,” Dr. Bloch said.

Steve felt the difference immediately.

“Literally the next day 95 percent of my symptoms were gone,” he said.

And now he’s back to drumming away.

The new adaptive hybrid surgery is only being used on patients with benign brain tumors, but could soon be used by surgeons to treat malignant brain tumors as well.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Jennifer Jefcoat, Field Producer; Cortni Spearman, Assistant Producer and Brent Sucher, Editor/Videographer.