Hand drill brain surgery

March 31, 2008 § 4 Comments

BBC - Brain surgery with a DIY drill

BBC has an interesting story about a British neurosurgeon who regularly travels to Ukraine to share his expertise and help with difficult operations.

In lack of surgical equipment the Ukrainian surgeons improvise, using a domestic Bosch hand drill for making the holes in the patient’s cranium during brain surgery.

There’s some interesting video footage from an awake craniotomy where the drill is in use. Remembering my own experience from a similar operation, I can’t imagine what the patient must be thinking. Probably just happy to get the operation done, despite the unconventional tool.

Dr. Henry Marsh always brings with him disused equipment from his own hospital to Ukraine. A drill bit that was thrown away after a single use in Britain, has been serving for ten years in the Ukrainian OR.

Makes you think of all the sturdy metal single-use staplers thrown away everyday. How many years would they last if reused?

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§ 4 Responses to Hand drill brain surgery

  • Craniotomies are my favorite neuro procedure. The brain always fascinating every time I see it, no matter how many times that may be. I have never experienced an awake crani before though. I can imagine how odd it must be to have the patient talking to you while their skull and dura are peeled away.

  • sterileeye says:

    Craniotomies are fascinating! I’ve filmed 4 or 5 of them, but it’s the awake one that sticks in my mind. The patient was not awake during the drilling, though.

    Using power tools so close to the brain must be nerve wrecking for a resident the first few times. No room for error whatsoever!

  • […] year ago I wrote a post on a British neurosurgeon who regularly travelled to Ukraine to operate, having to use a household […]

  • julia bivon says:

    I am due to have awake surgery at Addenbrookes tomorrow, I am under the care of Colin Watts, any reassurance would be welcome.

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