Marathon-running mom faces rare spinal cord tumor

February 29 is Rare Disease Day

In her third trimester, Aimee Garrison finally became convinced the soreness and tension across herAimee Preg Sloane Jogging stroller shoulder blades and into her back had to be more than just part of being pregnant.

“I had been running and lifting weights all the way up to 26 weeks,” the marathoner from Kalamazoo says, “so I slowed down, but it didn’t get better. Soon I was having trouble sleeping and keeping up with my toddler.”

Eventually, an MRI revealed Aimee was one of the less than 2,000 adults each year who find out they have a spinal cord ependymoma. A tumor the size of a baby carrot had been slowly growing in Aimee’s spinal cord, pushing her spinal cord against her vertebrae. Continue reading

‘Creating the OR of the future’

U-M neurosurgeons continue to expand imaging technology

pic 1_OR_CROP FOR BLOG

It can be difficult to see everything necessary, and in great detail, during brain tumor surgery. Often, a neurosurgeon is choosing between breadth (microscope glasses known as “loupes”) and depth (a microscope sitting outside the surgical field) as the surgery goes on.

A new technology coming to our new operating rooms in July combines the two views into one, mounted on a robot. The whole surgical team will be able to see everything the surgeon sees, in high definition on a large monitor.

“This type of technology can change our perspective to further refine and improve how we do surgery,” says Karin Muraszko, M.D., chair of neurosurgery at U-M.

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New microscope offers hope for tumor patients

New technology series

University of Michigan's Dr. Daniel Orringer with the new SRS microscope which promises to make brain tumor and other cancer surgeries safer and more efficient

University of Michigan’s Dr. Daniel Orringer with the new SRS microscope which promises to make brain tumor and other cancer surgeries safer and more efficient

Here at the University of Michigan we are testing a new microscope that will radically change brain tumor surgery—making it safer and more efficient. So far, we have used the microscope on tissues from 89 patients with great success.

Timing and location are important

One of the most difficult things for a brain surgeon is figuring out exactly where a brain tumor starts and stops because brain tumor tissue can be hard to distinguish from the rest of the brain. The new stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope allows us to see the edges of a tumor in a few seconds instead of waiting the 30-45 minutes it usually takes for a frozen tumor section to be developed.

Right now, we are using the microscope on an experimental basis through grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program. We are using the microscope almost exclusively on neurosurgical cases. I’m also collaborating with Matt Spector, who is a head and neck surgeon, to look at squamous cell carcinoma.  Continue reading