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Neurosurgeons improve deep brain stimulation surgery

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. An invasive brain surgery used to treat Parkinson's disease has received a technological makeover, thanks to doctors at the University of California, San Francisco. Neurosurgeon Paul Larson explains that deep brain stimulation surgery is an effective treatment for the disease, but is nevertheless a frightening option to many patients. 

Larson:         The traditional method involves an awake operation. We start by bolting a metal frame to the patient's head...and we put these probes in the brain...It's a five- or six-hour awake brain operation, which is difficult for some people to get through.

Narrator:      Larson helped to develop a state-of-the-art MRI device that allows surgeons to see directly into the brain, thereby reducing risk and making the procedure more comfortable for patients.

Larson:         The new system eliminates the need for this metal frame, the need to have the patient awake for the procedure, and it also shortens the procedure by a half or even a third of the time of the traditional implantation.

Narrator:      For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.