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New Device Produces Sharper Vision for Brain Tumor Surgery

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Dr. Schwartz with 5-ALA headlamp
Dr. Schwartz was individually fitted for the new headlamp and loupes; bottom, the view through the loupes clearly distinguishes glowing pink tumor tissue from healthy brain tissue surrounding it.

Dr. Theodore Schwartz is the first neurosurgeon in the United States to use this new 5-ALA fluorescent headlight and loupes in the operating room. Custom made for individual neurosurgeons by Design for Vision, the headlamp is designed to work with Gleolan, or 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (5-ALA), also known as "the pink drink."

When given to patients before surgery to remove a glioma, Gleolan passes through the blood-brain barrier and penetrates the tumor; when viewed under blue light during surgery it fluoresces as a hot pink indicator distinguishing tumor cells from healthy brain tissue around it. The new headlamp provides improved visualization of the intraoperative fluorescence, thereby maximizing the degree of brain tumor removal. The device is not yet commercially available; Dr. Schwartz was chosen to use it first due to his pioneering use of 5-ALA.

See Dr. Schwartz Brings New "Pink Drink" to Brain Tumor Surgery