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New Device Aids Tumor Surgery

The chances for the survival of patients with brain and breast tumors are much better because of a new surgical technology, reports Correspondent Lance Orozco of CBS station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles.

The technology is called Interventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Using a 13-ton "supermagnet," doctors can pinpoint tumors precisely.

"We're able to see and actually visualize the tumor," explains Jerry Koppang of the Pacific Coast Imaging Center.

In the past, surgeons trying to remove a tumor would have to operate, then take images to see if the operation was successful. Using the magnet, they can gauge how well the tumor removal is going before it's completed.

"We're able to take a scan, find out exactly where we are, find out exactly where we have to go," says Dr. Ivar Szper, a neurosurgeon.

In the case of one 70-year-old male patient, the device found a second tumor growing during his operation, and surgeons were able to remove both.

The technology's ability to pinpoint areas means that surgeons may be able to take out what were once considered inoperable brain and breast tumors.

"The prognosis is directly related to how much tumor is [removed]," says Bill Bradley of the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. "If you get it all out, the patient has a very good prognosis."

Long Beach Memorial Hospital has one of only four machines in the country. Doctors hope that the $2 million investment will help give patients a better chance at beating tumors.

Reported By Lance Orozco

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