Thursday, March 10, 2016

CATW Practice - 3D Imaging May Improve Surgery and Medicine

Begin by reading the passage below.

3D Technology May Improve Medicine

3D imaging technology adopted from other industries (such as gaming and entertainment) is becoming a real game changer in medicine.  The new 3D tools import MRI or CT scans and render these images into virtual 3D images, allowing the surgeons to plan in great detail before cutting open the patient.  

Dr. James Chandler and Dr. Orin Bloch, neurosurgeons at Northwestern University, have started using such 3D endoscopic systems to more precisely remove brain tumors in patients.  The 3D technology allows the surgeon to see more vividly, enabling them to remove all traces of the tumor and less non-cancerous tissue.  The precision allows for less cutting and therefore, a speedier recovery for the patient after surgery.  More importantly, the added precision is crucial in lowering the known risks in brain surgery, such as vision loss and coma.

For breast cancer patients, 3D imaging technology is beginning to improve detection and post-surgery outcome.  With traditional 2D mammogram, tumors in hidden shadows are often undetected.  “The problem of overlapping shadows has confounded breast cancer screening because mammograms don’t show cancers that are hidden by overlapping tissue,” says Dr. Kyle Myers, Director of FDA’s Division of Imaging, Diagnostics, and Software Reliability.  The newer 3D technologies would enable the doctors to see the tumors in these hidden areas. 

Even without expensive 3D imaging systems, some tech savvy doctors are exploring the use of consumer 3D technology to improve surgery outcomes.  Take the case of a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Redmond Burke of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, who used Google Cardboard to successfully operate on Teegan Lexcen, a baby with an abnormal heart.  Dr. Burke used an app called Sketchfab to render the baby’s CT scans into 3D visuals on the iPhone.  With the iPhone and Google Cardboard, he visualized the surgery in virtual reality.  “I think about heart repairs in three dimensions,” said Dr. Burke.  That surely can be expedited by 3D technology.  

Other doctors had already concluded that Teegan was inoperable but 3D enabled Dr. Burke to successfully operate on Teegan by allowing him to plan out every incision and every step of the surgery in 3D.  This lessened the time the infant stayed cut opened and it was crucial because the more time spent in heart surgery for a baby, the higher the chances of heart damage.

Despite the many reported cases of 3D technology producing favorable results, more studies still need to be done to quantitatively confirm improved surgery results from the implementation of 3D technology.  However, it all looks very promising from what we’ve seen so far.

Adapted from article by Amadeo Constanzo,, February 23, 2016.  You may freely post and distribute this article if and only if you include this statement with the above link to the original article.  More CATW practices and lessons are available at 

Writing Directions
Read the passage above and write an essay responding to the ideas it presents.  In your essay, be sure to summarize the passage in your own words, stating the author’s most important ideas. Develop your essay by identifying one idea in the passage that you feel is especially significant, and explain its significance. Support your claims with evidence or examples drawn from what you have read, learned in school, and/or personally experienced.

Remember to review your essay and make any changes or corrections that will help your reader follow your thinking.  You will have 90 minutes to complete your essay.

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