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New technology gives surgeons, patients a 3D look

Posted at 10:32 AM, Oct 04, 2019

Surgeons and scalpels are things one expects to see in a typical operating room, but at Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville they have some extra special tools.

"This standard controller and one joy stick will move you up and down and left and right... the other will go forward and back and rotate, " Andrew Carlson, the Surgical Theater program lead at Norton Children's, explained to WAVE 3 NEWS.

The new technology is called a Surgical Theater. With virtual reality goggles and controllers you can actually see and navigate inside a child's skull and brain.

"It's a way to let patients and families understand what we are talking about which isn't necessarily straight forward a lot of times, " said neurosurgeon Dr. Ian Mutchnick to WAVE 3.

It allows doctors, patients and even their families to get a 3D view of things like tumors and lesions and helps them to better understand a condition.

"You don't have to look at 30 two dimensional images to get a sense of the bone lesion. You can see here in green the lesion in respect to the brain, " Dr. Mutchnick demonstrated as he spoke to WAVE 3 NEWS.

The Surgical Theater takes 2D images from things like traditional MRI and CT scans and combines them to create a 360-degree color and virtual model. The technology even allows the doctor to practice the procedure beforehand while giving their young patients a chance to view what can be a very foreign experience in a familiar way.

Dr. Mutchnick said, "Put the goggles on the kid and give them a joystick. They just dig it. They dig it and their ability to access it is...there are no barriers."

According to WAVE 3 NEWS, Norton Children's Hospital is the first pediatric hospital in the region to offer Surgical Theater. They expect to use the technology on more than 100 patients a year.