CHICAGO (CBS) — 3D movies are known for making viewers feel like they’re in the middle of the action. The same type of technology is helping surgeons at Northwest Community Healthcare perform more precise surgeries.
Brittany Ostrander says she’ll never forget the moment doctors told her she had a brain tumor.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Ostrander. “I didn’t understand anything. My husband and I were terrified.”
Ostrander was rushed to the emergency room at Northwest Community Heath Care. After being evaluated, doctors determined 3D brain surgery was the best option.
When asked what she thought when she heard she needed 3D brain surgery, Ostrander says she responded with, “Whatever’s going to keep me alive.”
Dr. Shaun O’Leary, head of neurosciences, says NCH is the first hospital in the Chicago area to use the innovative 3D neurosurgery technology.
He used a bouquet of flowers as an analogy of how it works.
“This pink carnation right here, normally if we look with the naked eye, we wouldn’t be able to see the fine detail,” explained Dr. O’Leary. “But we can here with the 3D. In addition, the other areas around it, we can appreciate them more fully and stay away from those areas that are more valuable and areas we don’t want to injure during our surgery.”
Voula Pantelidakis had a large brain tumor removed on April 20 and says she was amazed by the 3D surgery.
“This was like a piece of cake,” said Pantelidakis, after the tumor was removed.
Dr. Ryan Zengou performed her surgery and Ostrander’s. He says the 3D technology is a game changer.
“With better visualization in the brain, it allows us to do our job in a much safer way,” said Dr. Zengou.
Some of the brain surgeries can take up to ten hours, so in addition to the detailed images, there’s another benefit for surgeons.
“I can look up at a screen. I don’t have to crank my neck,” explained Dr. Zengou. “If we’re constantly moving our body around, it actually fatigues us faster.”
Dr. Zengou says the 3D technology makes the surgery easier on doctors and patients who are returning to normal activities quicker than following traditional surgery.
“My recovery is remarkable,” said Pantelidakis. “I’m already planting flowers and moving. I’m walking!”
Ostrander says she’s also doing very well.
NCH has had the 3D technology for about three months. So far it has been used in eight to ten surgeries.
Dr. Zengou says he plans to use it with all his surgeries moving forward.