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Breakthroughs - Summer 2009

Targeted Cancer Radiation

Tiny beads containing the element yttrium-90 dispense a high dose of radiation to colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver. The beads are delivered to inoperable tumors by interventional radiologists at the Siteman Cancer Center who thread a catheter to the liver through a small incision in the groin. This life-extending outpatient treatment shrinks tumors without affecting healthy tissue.

Dolphin Pad

Surgical services has begun using “dolphin pads” originally used to transport dolphins and seals long distances without damaging their sensitive skin to prevent pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bed sores. The dolphin pad table surface has a microprocessor which automatically profiles a patient’s height, weight and girth. It then continually monitors their position, pressure, temperature, moisture, age/condition, perfusion and blood flow.

Ventricular Assist Device

A new short-term left ventricular assist system (LVAS) assists in blood flow in a more efficient way. The device is composed of a single-use centrifugal pump, a motor, and a primary drive console. Compared to other devices, the LVAS is unique in that it is designed to operate without mechanical bearings or seals, traditional components known to cause damage to red blood cells and promote clot formation.

Transoral Laser Microsurgery

For patients with head and neck cancer, traditional surgery can leave a patient with scarring and long rehabilitation. An alternative at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine called transoral laser microsurgery allows surgeons to remove a tumor through a patient's mouth.

 
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