Apr 4, 2012 1:00 AM
TUCSON - Doctors have a new surgical tool called the FMWand. Surgeons use it instead of a scalpel.
One of Kristi's Kids, Elise Powell, is the first child in the world to benefit in a surgery performed at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Elise had a little bump on her back.
"And right around January of last year we kind of noticed it," her mom Jana says. "And right around her birthday it doubled in size."
An M.R.I. revealed a tumor. Elise had chemotherapy which did shrink it, but it was a big tumor.
"This thing was just enormous. It was the size of a football that they took out of her abdomen area."
That was the first surgery. There's was still more to remove which challenged the surgeons.
"It was much more delicate because we were working in and around the, what we call the thecal sac, where the spinal cord is housed," says Dr. P. David Adelson.
Dr. Adelson performed the operation, using the FMWand. Ferromagnetic waves to heat the tip that precisely cauterizes the tissue as it cuts. Less blood gives the surgeon a better view.
"We obviously want to leave as little imprint as possible."
The wand doesn't damage as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as a scalpel would. This means a lower risk of infection and a quicker recovery. With pediatric patients like Elise precision is everything.
"We have a little less lee-way relative to the tissues we are going to be damaging," says Dr. Adelson.
He's predicting more and more surgeries with the device.
"At least preliminarily, on this first patient, that we utilized it on and another tumor patient that one of my partners utilized it on, we felt that it was very successful."
Looking back, Elise's mom is happy her daughter was the first.
"I think we were really lucky because I think they were able to get more of the tumor out."