At Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, a team of neurosurgeons and computer scientists are developing software to plan the delicate incisions that are necessary for neurosurgery.
Operating on the brain is a bit like ice fishing. Doctors cut a hole into the skull as small as half the size of a penny and can’t necessarily see what’s below. Sometimes they create an opening as large as 70 millimeters—the size of some camera lenses–forcing doctors to cut through broad areas of bone and tissue.
Surgeons must then navigate more than 400 miles of blood vessels and delicate lobes controlling speech, sight, smell and memory every time they want to excise a tumor or relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, depression and other neurological disorders.
Figuring out the best trajectory to attack a tumor or fluid-filled cyst is as much science as it is art.
“Field of image or computer-assisted surgery is a very evolving project in medicine—especially in neurosurgery,” says Dr. Yigal Shoshan, head of Hadassah Hospital’s neurosurgery department, who along with Leo Joskowicz, a Hebrew University computer science professor, is developing the software.
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