In the last few decades, minimally invasive surgery has become commonplace for surgical technologists, especially for easy-to-reach areas of the body, such as the abdomen and womb. More recently, surgeons have been able to use scopes in brain surgery, as well.
The benefits of minimally invasive surgery include less recovery time, and a decreased risk of infection and other complications that can accompany surgery. During these types of procedures, a thin scope is inserted via a surgically-made or naturally-occurring port in the skin. A camera attached to the end of the cope relays images to a screen for the surgeon to see. From there, surgical instruments are passed down the scope and masses can be removed.
Until recently, 3D brain surgery has been difficult to perform. Most 3D scopes reply on two optical channels, and it’s been difficult to construct an instrument that’s small enough to use for brain surgery which also produces the high-quality images neurosurgeons require.
By mimicking the compound eye of a bee instead of copying human anatomy, a team of neurosurgeons have cracked the puzzle. Using software that translates images for the left and right eye, the company Visionsense has produced a scope small enough to operate on the brain. This technology allows surgeons to see their instruments in 3D, which gives them a better understanding of where they are in relation to key parts of the anatomy.
Currently, a number of studies are being carried out to see if the 3D approach is better than the traditional 2D approach. One study in particular suggests the 3D aspect is beneficial- leading to faster operation times, improvements in depth perception, and quicker recovery times.