CBS video: Brain surgery gets 3D assist

At New York's Weill-Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Theodore Schwartz dons 3D goggles to get a better look at a tumor he's trying to remove.

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Jon Skillings is an editorial director at CNET, where he's worked since 2000. A born browser of dictionaries, he honed his language skills as a US Army linguist (Polish and German) before diving into editing for tech publications -- including at PC Week and the IDG News Service -- back when the web was just getting under way, and even a little before. For CNET, he's written on topics from GPS, AI and 5G to James Bond, aircraft, astronauts, brass instruments and music streaming services.
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Fiber-optic technology has long helped doctors get at problems in a patient's body without having to resort to major surgery. But for all the technological wonder of being able to see deep inside the body through a tiny tube, the view has been largely limited to the typical two-dimensional rendering of a TV or computer screen.

Now, however, surgeons are able to make use of 3D imaging--best known as a sometime Hollywood special effect--for delicate procedures such as removing tumors from the brain. One such surgeon is Dr. Theodore Schwartz of the Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York, who can get a vivid look at the brain he's working on via 3D goggles.

Those goggles deliver the lifelike images because the other end of the fiber-optic system has "an array of about a thousand lenses" on a 3-millimeter chip, inserted into the patient through the sinuses. Electrodes on the patient's face help to generate the images.

In the video here, CBS News medical correspondent Dr. John LaPook talks to Dr. Schwartz about the technology and how it helped him tackle a tumor at the base of the brain of 44-year-old Larry Perkins, a New York City detective.