Neurosurgeons at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital are now using a mapping tool that allows them better access to tumors of the brain.

“We have a camera which sees where the patient’s head is in space, and we have a pointer which we can then use to trace out the patients face and scalp,” said Dr. David Slottje with Sentara Martha Jefferson Neurosciences. “What that does is it provides a map of where the patient’s physical head is relative to the pre-operative MRI scan.”

Dr. Slottje says the technology saves time in surgery, and is a more minimally invasive alternative to previous methods.

“By locating where the tumor is in the brain we can immediately place the incision in the right place, tailor it, make it as small as possible,” noted Dr. Slottje.

In addition to mapping, the technology also lets surgeons see the other brain structures they may encounter, or have to work around, during surgery.

“It just gives me more information to just visualize the tumor, see it in my head, think about manipulating in three dimensions and think about how am I going to get into it, how I going to remove it and safely take care of the patient,” noted Dr. Slottje.

The result is an overall better experience for those going through surgery.

“Certainly, it is safer and more direct. It is something that certainly improves the outcomes for the patients,” said Dr. Slottje.

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