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Improved surgery for liver tumors

Jul 21, 2017 | Surgical Errors

Tumors and blood vessels can undergo shifting by inches in the liver, which can make it difficult for surgeons to pinpoint the location of tumors when a patient is on the operating table. The position in which the liver is resting in the body during diagnostic imaging is different from how it is positioned when the patient is laying down during surgery. Patients in New York who have ailments related to an impaired liver may be interested to know that a technology has been created that can locate tumors in the organ, allowing doctors to bypass blood vessels during surgery.

Using a unique stylus, surgeons are able to obtain an image of the organ and use a computer to compare the image with that of a CT scan that would have been obtained before the surgery. However, even though using this method is preferable to guessing the location of the tumors and blood vessels in the liver, the exact location can still be inaccurate by centimeters.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a software than can better meld the images from the CT scan and the tracking tool to provide a clearer picture of the location of the tumor. The software has been tested in surgery and has the potential to improve the care of over a half-million sufferers of liver cancer every year.

The new technology was used in a 20-patient study that was conducted over the last two years at a cancer center in New York. According to the surgeons who used the technology, 70 percent of patients saw an improved registration.

Surgical errors that result in a worsened medical condition, injury or death may be cause to seek damages. A medical malpractice law attorney may file lawsuits against the negligent surgeons and the hospital where they are employed.