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New Orlando center improves odds of brain surgery

Orlando Sentinel, August 18, 2011

Among the words patients who've had brain-tumor surgery dread most are these: We didn't get it all. Starting next month, doctors at Florida Hospital's new $33 million neurosurgery center hope to say those words a lot less often. The new 35,000-square-foot center features a powerful 3-Tesla MRI machine that moves between two operating rooms and enables doctors to scan patients' brains or spines during surgery. That should eliminate the need for a follow-up operation as much as a third of the time, said Melvin Field, MD, a neurosurgeon who explained the center's highlights at the Tuesday preview. "When removing a brain tumor, it's hard to know exactly where a growth starts and stops without a real-time MRI. The more we can do before we close, the better the chance of curing the patient," he said. Typically, brain-surgery patients don't have a post-operative scan until they're out of the operating room. Besides the intraoperative MRI machine, which cost $9 million, a CT scanner serves two operating rooms so surgeons can have instant images of bone mass. All of the center's eight operating rooms have high-powered microscopes, GPS-like neuro-navigation systems and intraoperative lasers.