OC SPOTLIGHT: Minimally Invasive Image Guided Surgery

Jan 08, 11:35 PM

Privileged today to have "the man who wrote the book" on today's new minimally invasive,  image guided surgeries.  As Dr. Patrick Sewell joins us to talk about his pioneering work in this field.  And how he himself recently struggled to find a qualified surgeon who could perform his own procedure on him when he discovered that he had kidney cancer.

"The usual procedure," explains Dr. Sewell, "is to go in and cut the whole kidney out.  But in this newer procedure, we insert a tiny probe (with a camera) and simply freeze or burn or cut out the tumor itself." Which can be done on an outpatient basis with far less cost, risk and recovery time.

He goes on to explain, however, that it's still extremely rare to find anyone trained in this procedure. "It's not that the procedures aren't known or proven,"explained Dr. Sewell.  "I invented this KIDNEY CRYOBLATION SURGERY where we freeze the tumor 25 years ago.  It's fully FDA approved. But that for a variety of reasons (like the need for newer skills or the fact that it takes far less time and therefore generates far less profit for the hospital...or simply that surgeons like all experts simply get stuck in their old ways) it's unfortunately still hard to find someone who'll use these less invasive surgery procedures". 

But the benefit is clear.  In his own case, he was able to find someone he'd trained to freeze just the cancerous parts of his kidney (without removing the entire organ) in an hour (on an outpatient basis).  At a fraction of the cost, time and impact of traditional surgeries.  Without the extensive recovery time and risks of infections or other side effects created when you cut into the body and remove a major organ.

Which is why he's here at UCI's Beall Applied Innovation Center working with one of the University Lab Partners to see if he can't improve this situation.  It's a "cutting edge" story (without all the "cutting") you'll want to hear. On this week's OC SPOTLIGHT, here on Orange County's only community radio station, OC TALK RADIO.