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Brain surgery is getting easier on patients
Date:8/20/2008

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Dr. Edward Duckworth is part of a new generation of neurosurgeons who are making brain surgery a lot easier on patients.

At Loyola University Hospital, Duckworth is using less-invasive techniques to remove tumors, to repair life-threatening aneurysms and to dramatically reduce seizures in epilepsy patients.

Rather than removing large sections of the skull or face, Duckworth is reaching the brain through much smaller openings. And in certain cases, he goes through the nose to get to the brain.

"It's not necessary to expose a large surface of the brain in order to access a small abnormality," said Duckworth, an assistant professor, neurological surgery, at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Less-invasive brain surgery can result in decreased pain and shorter hospital stays. It also makes patients less apprehensive, Duckworth said.

Duckworth recently performed a less-invasive aneurysm repair on David Shoblaske of Riverside, Ill. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel. Shoblaske's aneurysm was in the right side of his brain. It was spotted on a CT done in an attempt to find the source of Shoblaske's nonstop headaches. If the aneurysm had burst, Shoblaske likely would have suffered a serious stroke. To prevent that from happening, Duckworth closed off the aneurysm with a small titanium clip.

In a traditional aneurysm repair, the surgeon cuts out a piece of skull roughly 3 inches high and 3 inches wide. After repairing the aneurysm, the surgeon uses small plates and screws to reattach the skull piece. By contrast, the opening Duckworth created in Shoblaske was only about one inch across.

It's difficult to work with such a small opening. "You have to be much more meticulous," Duckworth said.

But the effort paid off for Shoblaske, a 64-year-old retired business executive with a history of heart disease that also has been treated successfully a
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Contact: Jim Ritter
jritter@lumc.edu
708-216-2445
Loyola University Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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