Pacman Eating Away Brain Tumors
Reported September 2011
ATLANTA (Ivanhoe Newswire) --This year, 190,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a brain tumor. Many others will be told they have something that can be just as frightening — a fluid filled mass called a cyst, growing in their brain. Now, something that looks like Pacman is eating the problem away.
Thirty-six-year -old Melanie Kent loves her roses, but she’s never appreciated them more than she does now. A year ago she thought she’d never have days like this again.
“It was like a stabbing pain like over this ear and what it was was like a pressure,” Melanie Kent, a woman who had a brain cyst told Ivanhoe.
Imaging revealed a golf- ball sized cyst deep in her brain.
“Yeah, honestly I was scared to death about having’ actual brain surgery. I really honestly thought that I would have the majority of one side of my head shaved, but it was just a tiny, tiny place,” Kent said.
That smaller incision was thanks to new, minimally invasive surgical technology. Instead of opening the skull to remove Melanie’s cyst, Emory University neurosurgeon, Dr. Costas Hadjipanayis used something new. It’s thinner than a pencil and combines a tiny camera, suction and an even thinner cutting device-- a high tech surgical instrument.
“I actually call it the Pacman device, the mouth looks like Pacman. The end has an opening and it almost has a little shaving device that goes up and down. So you can suction, pull in the tumor, or cyst and cut it at the same time and do the resection,” Costas Hadjipanayis, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Emory University told Ivanhoe.
For Melanie, the new technique meant a smaller scar, and a much quicker recovery.
“They had said four to six weeks amount of recovery time, and I was driving ten days later,” Kent concluded.
No more cyst, no more headaches, just a busy mom who’s happy to be back in the game.
Open brain surgery can take as long as three to six hours—this new endoscopic technique generally takes just one to three hours and can also mean a shorter hospital stay. Not every patient is a candidate for this new approach. But as more new technology is introduced to remove even hard to reach masses in the brain, doctors say these less invasive procedures are likely to become more common.
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Emory Hospital Midtown
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