Brain Surgery:

A primary brain tumor is a group
(mass) of abnormal cells that start in
the brain.

Surgeons at John Hopkins have safely
and effectively operated inside the
brains of a dozen patients by making a
small entry incision through the natural
creases of an eyelid to reach the skull
and deep brain.
Going through the eyelid offers a
simpler, more direct route to the middle
and front regions of the brain than
traditional skull-based surgery.  The
new approach eliminates the need for
shaving the patient's hair, pulling up
the scalp, opening the top half of the
skull, and moving aside whole outer
sections of the brain in order to
operate on the organ's delicate
neurological tissue.
The eyelid approach is not for every
patient. It only works for patients who
need brain surgery toward the front of
the skull.

In September 2011 the National
Institutes of Health Clinical Center (US)
said it started using an advanced
medical machine from Siemens
approved by the Food and Drug
Administration this June to diagnose
and treat traumatic brain injury and
post-traumatic stress disorder among
military service members and civilians.

The gizmo, called a Biograph mMR
(molecular magnetic resonance)
machine, combines the functions of a
positron emission tomography (PET)
scanner and a magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) machine into one
humongous package, which looks
about the size of a small car.

Dr. David Bluemke, director of the NIH
Clinical Center Radiology and Imaging
Sciences, said the Biograph mMR
"combines the two most powerful
imaging tools . . . The MRI points us to
abnormalities in the body, and the PET
tells us the metabolic activity of that
abnormality, be it a damaged part of
the brain or a tumor. This will be a
major change for many patients."

The new device makes patient care
swifter and safer, he said. The faster
turnaround time and more
comprehensive results will help
diagnose patients at an earlier stage
of disease, leading to better outcomes.

The purchase of the Biograph mMR
was made possible through the Center
for Neuroscience and Regenerative
Medicine, a Defense
Department-funded collaboration
between NIH and the Uniformed
Services University of the Health