Brain Scanner Clearly Seeing Tiniest of Blood Vessels

Brain Scanner Clearly Seeing Tiniest of Blood Vessels

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Ed Yeates ReportingUtah doctors are taking a "fantastic voyage" inside small vessels of the body, seeing things like they've never seen before. The University of Utah is now one of only four medical centers in the country touting the incredible 3-D eyes.

It may be the closest thing yet to miniaturizing yourself and being there inside the intricate plumbing of the human brain to see how to fix a problem. This new angiography system takes surgeons on a 3-D journey outside and inside the smallest of blood veins, even capillaries. Without ever entering the body, it finds, rotates, clips, dissects and actually peers inside the vessel itself, detailing things like aneurysms.

Steve Stevens, M.D., Chair, U of U Radiology Dept: "Instantaneous, we have 3-D images virtually instantaneous. Within a matter of minutes after we take these, the surgeon can be looking at them on the screen."

This new technology not only speeds up the therapy itself, it requires less radiation. And that's a real benefit to the patient.

Remember that outside view of the aneurysm? Now try stripping away tissue, making the vessel transparent, dissecting a piece out, and entering the interior of the bulge itself. Before the operation begins, surgeons can literally practice on the images.

Steve Stevens, M.D.: "So we have the image of the aneurysm. You actually have the image of the important blood vessels adjacent to the aneurysm - you can make a model and actually practice that before you actually do it."

And it's not just the brain--the two-point-four million dollar scanner can seek out blockages in the abdomen, pelvis and legs, as well. Dr. Steve Stevens says as good as it is now, what you see here is just the beginning.

Steve Stevens, M.D.: "Looks great. We can do these beautiful 3-D images. Who knows what else we're going to be able to use this for."

The scanner will become a significant tool for the University Hospital's Brain Attack team, which is now on a round the clock stand by for stroke victims.

By the way, that lower radiation dose to patients is actually half the dose of what traditional scanners deliver.

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