ACKGROUND: For victims of stroke, every second counts. New technology at Rush University Medical Center helps surgeons treat the blood vessels in the brain faster and with less risk. The new neuroendovascular suite is equipped with the latest in advanced, 3D imaging and interoperative software, allowing surgeons to see the blood vessels and surrounding brain tissue in ways they could not before.
HOW IT WORKS: Neuroendovascular surgeons use a catheter and an image-guidance system to thread tiny instruments through the femoral artery in the leg up to the brain vessels. The new imaging system at Rush produces 3D CT scans rendered in real time. As the surgeon snakes the catheter through the twists and turns of the blood vessels, a computerized 3D image of the blood vessel and surrounding soft tissue can be rotated to view from any angle. The image is translucent allowing the surgeon to see exactly where the catheter is in the tiny blood vessels. It's similar to having a GPS system guiding you to your destination, compared to trying to navigate by the stars.
BENEFITS: While the procedure is taking place, the surgeon can visualize fine details such as the shape of the aneurysm or the exact placement of a stent. With the ability to take CT images, the impact on other structures in the brain can be immediately detected and evaluated, such as complications like intracranial bleeding. In addition to visualizing the brain, it is crucial for surgeons to know how well the brain is functioning during the procedure. The new suite offers a unique neurophysiologic monitoring system. During surgery, the specialists can monitor the patientıs vision, sensation, and movement even while the patient is under general anesthesia.
ABOUT CAT SCANS: CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans are similar to conventional X-ray imaging, but instead of imaging the outline of bones and organs, a CAT scan machine forms a full three-dimensional computer model of the inside of a patient's body. Doctors can even examine the body one narrow slice at a time. The X-ray beam moves all around the patient, scanning from hundreds of different angles, and the computer takes all that information to compile a 3D image of the body.