Houston doctors live-tweet patient's brain surgery
The operation removed a tumor from a 21-year-old woman's head while updates were posted to Twitter and YouTube.
Wed, May 09, 2012 at 01:59 PM
Photo: Patient being wheeled into the operating room/Memorial Hermann Hospital
A surgical team at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, has completed the world's first live-tweeted neurosurgery.
The operation removed a tumor from a 21-year-old woman's head and lasted nearly five hours. The team live-tweeted updates and answered questions throughout the surgery, uploaded photos of the tumor to Pinterest, and even posted several short videos to YouTube as the surgery, a procedure known as a brain tumor resection, progressed.
"The main reason I wanted to do this was for the educational possibilities," neurosurgeon Dong Kim, who did not do the tweeting himself, told ABC News. "I spend a lot of my time with patients on what to expect and what the steps are. A lot of anxious patients want to know exactly what happens. With this, they will be able to see what happens."
Photos posted throughout the day included the patient being wheeled into surgery, her MRI, and several graphic images of the tumor itself as the surgery progressed. Videos showed the patient being prepped and, toward mid-morning, footage of the tumor itself:
The patient, whose name was not released, had a benign cavernous angioma tumor on the right side of her brain. According to one of today's earliest tweets, the tumor was discovered a month ago after the patient experienced a seizure. Kim told ABC News that he hoped removal of the tumor would prevent the patient from suffering future seizures.
The live-tweeting hit a snag around 12:30 p.m. EST when Twitter experienced technical difficulties. The surgery proceeded without a problem and updates were continuously posted in other media. The incision was closed at 1:08 p.m. and the patient was moved to a recovery room.
All of the tweets from the surgery can be seen on Memorial Hermann's Twitter page or in chronological order on Storify.