3-D In The OR

FRESNO, Calif.

Even when they can't get to the water, David kuncas and his son still make time to practice the fundamentals of fishing. David had to put his hobby on hiatus after being hit with constant back pain, sleep apnea and carpal tunnel.

His weight fluctuating 60 pounds!

"I was exhausted. I had no energy, " David Kuncas told Ivanhoe. "Everything was just falling apart in my life."

A doctor diagnosed him with a rare disease known as acromegaly. It's the same one that caused wrestling star Andre the giant to grow. Doctors found 16-times the normal amount of growth hormone in David's body-- caused by a pea-sized tumor in his pituitary gland.

"Tiny little thing was killing me," David said.

Neurosurgeons at the University of Pennsylvania were able to help David by using a new procedure, three-dimensional, endoscopic brain surgery.

"The 3D helps me to be safer with resection around critical structures," John Y.K. Lee, M.D., neurosurgeon at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital System said.

Using the same technology that helped avatars jump through the screen at the movies, surgeons inserted a 3D endoscope through a patient's nose. Then, when they put on polarized glasses, they see a 3D view of the brain.

"We don't have monsters jumping out at us during surgery, but it is a very similar technology,"Dr. Lee said.

Surgeons were able to remove the tumor without damaging the brain or the optic nerves. Now, David is getting better every day and looking forward to a little spring fishing.

"I'm going to have a boat, and I'm going to be taking my son out," David said.

Proving 3D has a place outside of the movies. Doctor Lee says he has heard reports of surgeons becoming slightly dizzy during a 3D operation, but he and his colleagues have not had any negative effects during training or during actual operations.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Cathy Malloy, Surgery Coordinator
Office of Dr. John Y.K. Lee
University of Pennsylvania Health System
(215) 829-5189

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