Did You Know…

…how Neurosurgeons Can See Blood Flow in the Brain?


Neurosurgeons must be able to check blood flow in the brain quickly at any time during a surgical procedure. This is because irreversible brain damage and paralysis may result if the blood supply to critical parts of the brain is interrupted even briefly.

ZEISS has developed technology that enables surgeons to see blood flow in vessels quickly and easily: the INFRARED 800 fluorescence module. By pressing a button, surgeons can obtain vital blood flow information in real time during the operation without needing to interrupt the procedure. For this purpose, a dye is added to the blood that emits fluorescent light – invisible to the human eye. Much like with a thermal imaging camera, this light becomes visible thanks to the fluorescence module integrated in the surgical microscope and shows up on a monitor as white luminescence similar to an X-ray image. The neurosurgeon can then modify the treatment procedure based on this blood flow data, leading to improved surgical results for the patient.

This technology is particularly useful for assisting with procedures in vascular neurosurgery. It can also be implemented in treating vascular diseases like pathological vascular dilatations in the brain – commonly called cerebral aneurysms – which, if left untreated, can lead to brain hemorrhages and ultimately death. This fluorescence technique has helped to make some of the most difficult and complex procedures in medicine far more efficient.

27 June 2012