Stealth Technology makes sinus surgery safer at BRMC






BRISTOLSinus surgery is one of the most difficult tasks a physician can undertake. The area’s proximity to a patient’s brain and eyes causes physicians to proceed with such caution that sometimes multiple surgeries are required to complete the task.

But thanks to technology at Wellmont Bristol Regional Medical Center, surgeons there have a unique view into the heads of their patients.

“The anatomy of that area is tricky,” said Dr. Alan Davis, a surgeon with Highlands Ear, Nose and Throat. “It’s very three-dimensional. The view from the endoscope is only two-dimensional, and when you’re that close to a person’s brain and eyeballs, you can run into big problems if you can’t see where you are.”

That’s why Dr. Davis – along with fellow Highlands ENT surgeons Dr. Thomas Boeve and Dr. Mark Converse – is happy to have image-guided, or stealth technology, to assist with sinus surgery.

Stealth technology combines computer technology with sophisticated imaging techniques to give doctors a real-time, three-dimensional view of the patient. After a computed tomography scan sends information to a computer in the operating room, the patient wears special headgear that uses an infrared camera to produce the three-dimensional image on a screen the surgeon can reference during the operation.

“This lets us know exactly where we are, which is especially important if the patient’s sinuses are unusual or changed in any way, for example, from previous surgeries,” Dr. Davis said. “In this type of surgery, maintaining borders and boundaries is vitally important.”

Spine surgeons and neurosurgeons have used similar technology to perform complicated surgery on other parts of the body, Dr. Davis said, but its use to perform sinus surgery is a relatively new application. Even so, Highlands ENT physicians have performed this surgery more than 100 times in the last three years and are the only surgeons to use the technology in this application in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

“Bottom line – this makes these surgeries safer,” Dr. Davis said.



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