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3-D Brain Navigation, Minimally Invasive Surgery Combine to Help Neurosurgeon Remove Tennis Ball-Sized Tumor
Date:6/21/2010

r. Rak began surgery, he discovered that the surgery would be more complicated than expected, due to the precarious position of one of the large blood vessels in Mr. Sencer’s skull. He would have to avoid this area in order to prevent damage to this structure and other serious consequences.

Assessing this potentially dangerous situation, Dr. Rak “custom designed” the surgery on the spot. This meant that he had to go in through another part of the skull that was further from the tumor, and then attack the tumor from both sides.

Dr. Rak used a neuronavigation system, which creates a presurgical 3D map of the patient’s brain, and allows the surgeon to operate more accurately. Before the surgery, Mr. Sencer underwent pre-operative navigation planning, integrating MRI images with technology that is similar to that found in global positioning devices. This technology enables surgeons to operate deep in the brain with a remarkable degree of accuracy.

Dr. Rak used minimally invasive microsurgical techniques to preserve Mr. Sencer’s olfactory nerve, which had been partially damaged by the tumor, and to avoid damage to blood vessels in the area. He completely removed the tumor.

Nearly eight hours later, the surgery was over and considered a success. The tumor was completely removed, and, Dr. Rak says, “Mr. Sencer emerged completely intact, and cosmetically, you cannot see the scars.” Mr. Sencer was even able to maintain his hair – including his trademark ponytail.

A few months after surgery, Roger Sencer was able to go back to work as a psychotherapist and tai chi instructor, and resume all normal activities.

How does he feel at the one-year anniversary of his surgery? “I feel good,” he says. He is doing all of the activities he loves: teaching, driving, sailing, and enjoying his friends and family. The best news of all is that he is tumor free &ndash
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