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An unexpected diagnosis

Because of her symptoms, Reba’s primary care physician suspected that she may have a pinched nerve – often the result of degenerative arthritis. So he referred her to Dr. Williamson at AHN for specialized arthritis care.

But when Reba’s symptoms didn’t add up, Dr. Williamson decided to conduct a thorough neurological examination instead. Imaging scans detected a very large lesion on the right side of her brain, which explained her left-sided weakness – and a meningioma.

Meningiomas are the most common brain tumors. They originate in the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. Like Reba’s, most are not cancerous.

If it weren’t for Dr. Williamson’s thorough examination, Reba’s meningioma may have gone undetected. Without intervention, her weakness would have progressed until she was no longer able to function. The tumor was already causing significant symptoms that were getting worse and, therefore, impacting her quality of life.

So Reba and Dr. Williamson chose to remove it. She underwent a craniotomy, a surgical procedure that involves removing a piece of the skull to access the brain.

The size and location of the tumor made Reba’s surgery challenging. The meningioma was attached to the part of the brain that controls movement on the left side of the body. Dr. Williamson needed to remove the tumor with precision – so the procedure wouldn’t injure the brain and give her permanent left-sided weakness.

Enter: Modus V.

Modus V: Superior illumination and magnification

Dr. Williamson used the Modus V – a robotic operating microscope with a high-powered camera and light source – to magnify and illuminate the area of Reba’s brain where he was operating.

“Our goal is to remove the tumor and preserve the brain,” Dr. Williamson said. “The Modus V gives us superior illumination and magnification in order to do just that.”

In addition to the precision, patients also experience efficiency. The Modus V can sync with the surgeon’s instruments. For example, if Dr. Williamson wants the camera to move, he can simply point his instrument in that direction and push a button on the floor with his foot.

This means that, unlike a standard operating microscope, surgeons don’t have to stop what they’re doing to move it, cutting back on operating time. And the device’s autofocus feature allows the microscope to stay in focus wherever his instrument is.

“We at AHN are early adopters of emerging technologies and see their value,” Dr. Williamson said. “We’re actively engaged in research to expand the capabilities of Modus V in order to improve health outcomes for patients like Reba.”

Despite the tumor size, Reba made a full recovery with no weakness – and in record time. She’s already back to enjoying her active lifestyle of walking and volunteering at a retirement home.

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Request an appointment with one of our experts or get more information about the Allegheny Health Network Neuroscience Institute.

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