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Emory hospital first to use 3DHD for pituitary surgery

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Emory University Hospital is the first medical center in the United States to begin using a new 3DHD stereoscopic endoscopy system for removal of pituitary tumors. With the acquisition of the VS3 system at the Emory Pituitary Center, Emory University Hospital continues to be a national leader in minimally invasive neurosurgery.

Emory has successfully treated 20 patients suffering from pituitary tumors with the 3DHD stereoscopic vision system, which allows neurosurgeons to remove pituitary tumors more accurately and safely. The new system provides small, 4mm diameter scopes enabling true depth perception for the neurosurgeon during complex surgical procedures.

This new surgical tool, equipped with a tiny video camera at the end of a narrow tube, provides enhanced depth perception and gives a doctor the ability to understand critical spatial relationships and to appreciate subtle changes in form, shape, color and size of structures and thus better navigate the area at the base of the brain. Although 3D technology has been in use for some time and Emory has done more than 800 pituitary procedures using the prior generation of 3D endoscopes, the newest high-definition technology is expected to further improve patient outcomes and speed recovery.

"This really is a dramatic game-changer," says Nelson M. Oyesiku, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of neurosurgery and medicine (endocrinology) at Emory University School of Medicine, and Al Lerner Chair and vice-chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery.

"For many years, the available technology was 2D endoscopy, which had a major drawback because of the distortion and lack of depth inherent with 2D vision. 3D vision, or stereopsis, is a valuable evolutionary adaptation of the human visual system," says Oyesiku, who has performed more than 1700 pituitary operations and is a pioneer in the use of 3D endoscopy.

The pituitary is a pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain, also known as a "master gland" because it sends signals to the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, directing them to produce thyroid hormone, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, and many more hormones. These hormones, in turn, have a dramatic effect on metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction and other vital body functions. In addition, the pituitary gland produces growth hormone for normal development of height and prolactin for milk production.   

When pituitary tumors develop and grow, they may place pressure on important nerves and blood vessels and need to be surgically removed.

"Having the new 3DHD endoscope is a tremendous aid for a neurosurgeon who is operating on a small organ that is located at the base of brain," says Oyesiku. "The new 3DHD technology has vastly improved the existing 3D technology and enhances the minimally invasive procedure of identifying and removing pituitary tumors. Providing surgeons with the best visual experience means safer operations, better clinical outcomes, better patient satisfaction, less time in the operating room, shorter hospital stays and a quicker recovery time."

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