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First-of-its-kind brain surgery performed in Las Vegas

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Posted at 6:33 AM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 10:11:09-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Neurosurgeons at Southern Hills Hospital just performed first-of-its-kind brain surgery in Nevada.

Southern Hills Hospital is the first in the state to use new technology to remove brain tumors.

This type of procedure is for people who have been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, meaning it’s cancerous and can invade and destroy nearby tissue, spreading to other parts of the body.

Here’s how it works— the patient will drink a fluid a couple of hours before surgery. That liquid attaches to the brain tumor and that will make the tumor glow neon pink when the surgeon turns on a black light.

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Dr. John Anson and Dr. Angela Palmer were the neurosurgeons who performed the first surgery. They say it helps remove more of the tumor, which is directly related to the chance of survival.

“It allows us to visualize bits of tumor we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see in order to get a complete resection. With malignant tumors, you get little spread of the tumor into the surrounding brain, very hard to distinguish from a normal brain. We know that people do better the more tumor you get out,” said Anson, neurosurgeon and chief of surgery at Southern Hills Hospital.

“Being able to offer our patients the very best in the valley, and now being able to offer them a chance that we can get out all of their brain tumors and give them more hope, more time with their families, more life expectancy, I think those things are very important and I feel very fortunate to be part of this hospital,” said Palmer, a neurosurgeon at Southern Hills Hospital.

This is just the beginning — Anson and Palmer say in the future they hope to expand the use of this technology.

Palmer is one of only two female neurosurgeons in the Las Vegas area. She says she loves living in Las Vegas and hopes stories like this will inspire more women to get into her field.