-- When former Major League pitcher Tom Norton needed brain surgery, neurosurgeons explained the procedure by taking a flight around his brain using the 3D rehearsal platform Surgical Theater.
"He actually showed me on the computer the tumor in there and how they're going about to do in there," says the 67-year-old Norton, who was losing vision in his left eye because of the brain tumor pressing on his optic nerve.
Developed by UH neurosurgeon Warren Selman and two former Israeli Air Force pilots, Moty Avisar and Alon Geri, Surgical Theater is a flight simulator for brain surgery, a sort of video game that allows doctors to rehearse the procedure before doing it.
A "Back to Bedside Initiative" grant puts Surgical Theater technology in the hands of the patient, or around their head, showing them exactly what doctors will do, easing fears they might have.
"I think it does help a lot of people in terms of giving the ability to kind of conceptualize more of what the problem is," says James Wright, MD, a fifth year neurosurgery resident at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. "I think just having that bit of understanding probably does alleviate some anxiety."
For Tom Norton, that gives him extra confidence come game time.
"I'm feeling a little more relaxed," the Sheffield Lake, Ohio resident and former Minnesota Twin says about his surgery.