Intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) are rare neoplasms in the central nervous system (CNS), accounting for 2-4% of all CNS tumors.1 Astrocytomas, a common type of IMSCT, are infiltrative and do not have a clear plane of dissection, making surgical removal difficult. Due to limitations in current surgical options, along with adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the use of external magnets to guide intrathecally delivered gold-coated nanoparticles has been proposed as a less invasive treatment for eliminating astrocytomas.1,2

An animation was developed to create a new resource providing an overview of the procedure and to teach grant committees, surgical residents, and surgical faculty. A qualitative survey was administered to provide residents, faculty, and researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Neurosurgery and Neurology Departments an opportunity to provide comments. Likert scale questions and qualitative comments confirmed that the animation was effective in accurately portraying the technique and is a valuable visual aid for neurosurgeons. This new resource will continue to help introduce and explain the procedure for anticipated upcoming clinical trials.

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This Vesalius Trust research poster was presented at the 2017
Association of Medical Illustrators' Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas


1. Tobin, M.K., Geraghty, J.R., Engelhard, H.H., Linninger, A.A., & Mehta, A.I. (2015). Intramedullary spinal cord tumors: a review of current and future treatment strategies. Neurosurgical Focus. 39(2):E14. doi: 10.3171/2015.5.FOCUS15158.

2. Lueshen, E. Venugopal, I., Kanikunnel, J., Soni, T., Alaraj, A., & Linninger, A. (2014). Intrathecal magnetic drug targeting using gold-coated magnetite nanoparticles in a human spine model. Nanomedicine, 9(8), 1155-1169. doi: 10.2217/nnm. 13.69.

3. Flores, R.L., Demoss, P., Klene, C., Havlik, R.J., & Tholpady S. (2013). Digital animation versus textbook in teaching surgery techniques to novice learners. Plastic and Reconstruction Surgery, 132(1), 101e-9e. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182910aa9.

4. Prinz, A., Bolz, M., & Findl, O. (2005). Advantage of three dimensional animated teaching over traditional surgical videos for teaching ophthalmic surgery: a randomised study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 89(1), 1490-1495. doi: 10.1136/bjo. 2005.075077.


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