Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital plans to Tweet live updates of a brain tumor resection, Wednesday, May 9, 2012 beginning 8:30 a.m. EST. The brain surgery will be performed by Dr. Dong Kim, a neurosurgeon who helped lead the team that treated former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head in 2011.
Dr. Kim said, “Social media is a very powerful communications vehicle in helping to demystify the process of brain surgery. So our goal of performing this surgery live via Twitter is to educate the general public about brain tumors and take them into the OR to see what happens during a brain surgery. Someone may have a loved one who is considering a similar procedure and perhaps they can glean some information from this Twittercast that may help them make a decision about whether surgery is the right choice for them.”
Tweeting live play-by-play actions of the brain surgery with video, pictures and live video feed from a microscope. You will see a surgeon’s view as Dr. Kim and his team remove a cavernous angioma tumor from the right side of a 21-year-old woman’s brain.
Dr. Kim says, “What will come out of this is a detailed, real-time sequence of what happens in a brain surgery through all the stages from preparation, to shaving the hair, to making the incision, to draping. People are very anxious and want to know what goes on in a brain surgery like this.”
A two-inch by two-inch will be cut in the skull of the patient and will leave her brain exposed for between one and one-and-a-half hours while Dr. Kim tries to find and remove the tumor. He says the brain tumor is probably located between two and three centimeters beneath the brain’s surface.
Dr. Dong Kim won’t be tweeting, instead neurosurgeon with Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann Dr. Scott Shepard, M.D. and assistant professor of neurosurgery with UTHealth will be on-site to respond to questions and comments in real time during the brain surgery tweeting.
“One neat thing about this is we should be able to get actual images of the brain surface itself. Hopefully you’ll see video of the brain actually pulsating with heartbeats,” Dr. Kim said.
Approximately 190,000 people in the United States each year are diagnosed with brain tumors. While relatively rare, most are benign brain tumors, but can be life-threatening for people of any age.