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Medical/Surgical Advancements

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Medical/Surgical AdvancementsContact Us

Revolutionary technology is allowing neurosurgeons at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital unprecedented views of the brain during surgery. The intra-operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system improves the accuracy of brain surgery for children and adults by providing real-time, high-quality images of the brain before, during and after surgery.

This state-of-the art technique offers a tremendous advantage for the removal of brain tumors. Once an operation has started, the brain can shift up to a centimeter. With the ability to view MRI images during surgery, uncertainties resulting from brain shift can be eliminated physicians can be more precise in determining the location and size of the tumor.

The system inherently makes surgery safer for patients, improves patient outcomes and reduces hospital stays. By pinpointing the exact location of the tumor, the system helps doctors avoid critical structures and ensure the entire tumor has been removed (when possible) before the patient leaves the operating room. There are fewer complications and less potential for recurrence.

Surgery may now be an option for some brain tumor patients who previously were considered too high risk. This technology allows physicians to more confidently operate on low grade tumors that look very similar to normal brain tissue or are blended into healthy tissue. The MRI can highlight the margins that can't be seen with the naked eye.

Brain Mapping

Brain Mapping is a sophisticated intraoperative monitoring procedure utilized to map the brain's important functions. This helps the surgeons to avoid critical areas allowing for often complete tumor resections under the safest conditions possible. It also allows the seizure focus to be identified and removed, lowering the risk of post-operative seizures.

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The Optical Tracking System

The Optical Tracking System is a sophisticated surgical instrumentation for computer-guided, optically-tracked neurosurgery. The Optical Tracking System facilitates minimally invasive surgery in the head and neck for biopsies, tumor resections and shunt catheter placements. This advanced neuro-navigational instrument provides three-dimensional CT and MRI image views for pre-operative surgical planning and enables interactive image-guided surgery to be performed in the operating room.

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Neuroendoscopy is a minimally invasive brain surgery technique in which an endoscope, a pencil-sized flexible instrument equipped with a tiny camera, is inserted into the brain to view the tumor and facilitate its removal. The camera projects a video of the brain onto a television screen, which allows the surgeon to actually see around the corners of the brain.

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PET Scan (Positive Emission Tomography)

petscanPET Scan (Positive Emission Tomography) is a camera that produces powerful images of the human body's biological functions. A sophisticated computer reassembles the signals into actual images that show the biological causes of normal organ function and failure of organ systems in disease. This information can be used in planning surgery as well as in monitoring for tumor recurrence. Lutheran General Hospital is researching the use of PET scans for intraoperative and radiosurgical image fusion as well.

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3-D Imaging

3dimage3-D Imaging uses advanced computers to ensure the most accurate location of brain tumors and to graphically produce three-dimensional models of the lesion along with nearby critical anatomical structures such as the brain stem and optic nerves.


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This new, revolutionary way to treat cancer with radiation provides superior targeting of tumors and minimizes side effects for patients. This treatment is particularly useful for head and neck, pancreatic, gynecological, prostate and sarcoma cancers, and pediatric patients. Lutheran General will be the first hospital in the northwest suburbs to offer this technology.
Available in spring 2007

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Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

One of the newest computer-assisted radiation treatment breakthroughs for prostate, breast, head, neck and brain cancer, the IMRT technique delivers the highest energy treatment by "wrapping" multiple beams of radiation around a tumor area, while protecting adjacent normal tissues.

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Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)/radiotherapy

In this outpatient, nonsurgical treatment, a very precise, high-powered localized radiation beam is used to treat defined, deep-seated tumors, usually in the brain, for which surgery would be risky. Three-dimensional computer imaging is used to target the tumor and direct the radiation beam from several angles.

Radiation oncology equipment at the center also includes two linear accelerators that beam electrons or high-energy X-rays through the skin to the targeted site, and a multileaf collimator that precisely focuses the linear accelerator's beam, avoiding damage to healthy cells.

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Apheresis Center

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (hours may vary)
Phone: 847.723.8780 (appointments required)
Location: Second floor

The Apheresis Center, the only facility of its kind in the northwest suburbs, offers individuals a fast, convenient way to donate blood or platelets for cancer or transplant patients. The apheresis process separates blood into different components that are used to support many lifesaving medical treatments. All donations made at the Apheresis Center remain at Lutheran General Hospital.

Family members can come to the center to give direct-to-donor blood for patients who are undergoing cancer treatments at Lutheran General. In addition, the public is welcome to make blood or platelet donations at the center.

The apheresis center also handles stem cell collections for hospital patients, provides apheresis support for research study initiatives and is a collection site for the National Marrow Donor Program.

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Lowery Video Display System

A unique device that helps ease the fears of children undergoing radiation and often eliminates the need for anesthesia. It allows children to watch their favorite videos while immobilized on a radiation table. It is a healthy alternative to anesthesia, which is hard on the whole system, affecting everything from blood pressure to eating patterns and sleep habits. It helps the older children relax and is most useful in the 2 to 3 year olds. In the past younger children would have received daily anesthesia 25 to 30 times.

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