Saturday, May 02, 2009

Zap! Surgery

Yesterday, we went to The Health Museum to visit the Zap! Surgery: Beyond the Cutting Edge exhibit. Before our trip, we spent some time learning about the 5 surgical techniques that were highlighted by this exhibit.

ENDOSCOPY - For endoscopy surgery, the surgeon uses a small tube which they insert into the body through a small incision. The tube has a camera on it for viewing and for taking photos. They might also have something on it to take a biopsy or retrieve a foreign object. It is minimally invasive and patients often receive consious sedation.

Online, we watched a few short YouTube videos which used endoscopes. And, we discussed the time I went to the ear, nose, and throat doctor and we both got to watch as the doctor put an endoscope through my nose and down my throat to have a look around. She was able to watch that video and remembers it.

This was one of my favorite exhibits at the museum because we got to pretend like we were surgeons and try to manipulate items as a surgeon would.

GAMMA KNIFE - This is the techinque I was least familiar with. Basically, this is used to treat brain tumors. They put a kind of hat on the patient that has 201 holes. They decide which holes they need to shoot the radition through to kill the tumor while not damaging healthy tissue.

Before we went, we watched the BrainPop video about the electromagnetic spectrum to learn about gamma rays.

On one exhibit, we were able to figure out which of the "holes" (we only had about a dozen) we needed to use to kill the tumor without damaging the healthy tissue. Our surgery was a success!

LASER SURGERY - We watched a BrainPop video about lasers which led us to talk about some of the uses of lasers - holograms (we found out there is a store in Houston and wanted to go, but didn't make it), Lasik (which led us to discuss that Alexandra's great grandpa had Lasik), bar codes (we see these all the time, right?) and to play with your pets (we might pick up a cheap one at the pet store)! I also learned that laser is an acronym that stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

At each exhibit, you could watch a short video about the type of surgery (about 3 or 4 minutes). There were usually several options and she chose the "tattoo removal" video. Pretty neat!

ULTRASOUND - We looked at Alexandra's ultrasound image from her baby scrapbook. And, we watched a video about ultrasounds at How Things Work.

At the exhibit, they talked about how ultrasound can be used to break up kidney stones in a process called lithotripsy. The patient actually lies in a water bath and the ultrasound waves are aimed at the kidney stones until they are broken into small enough pieces.

CRYOSURGERY - This is a method where you super freeze tissue to kill it. We talked about how I've had this procedure to remove a few things from my skin and that "yes", it does hurt.

They had a very COLD room where you could watch a short video about cryosurgery.

They had a Zap! Jr room where they had even more hands on activities set up. Alexandra and I enjoyed playing a very large game of Operation!

We also went on a "ride" where you went through a body and saw some things that needed surgery. It was one of those little "vehicles" that moves in all directions and kind of makes you sick. :-) This was Alexandra's favorite part of the day!

It wasn't part of the Zap! exhibit, but I enjoyed the Cells 4D video - very cool graphics and it reminded me of a lot of things I studied many years ago. :-) In the 4D theater, they have lights that flash all over the room, breezes (strong winds!) that blow, and you even get wet! It's quite the experience. (Oh, and we watched a BrainPop video about "cells" before we went. We should have watched "immune systems" and "mitosis", too. )


Robin said...

Very cool! Sadly, I've experienced all but the gamma knife. And I never want to deal with any of them again. Well.... maybe the ultrasound. That's not so bad. And I may be getting that done sooner rather than later. I have to have my varicose veins checked out.
You guys have some cool museums. I've got to come sometime and check them out.
Hey, is your area clear of flooding yet?

April said...

I love the huge operation game! It was one of my favorites as a child!

live4evermom said...

That looks like fun. I'd like to go back there.

lahbluebonnet said...

Hi, I am Teacups in the Garden. I just read all your wonderful comments to me at my blog. So you have lots of TOG questions? I just moved to another state, just moved into a new house and just got back online after a week off. E-mail me at with your questions! =)

Rhonda said...

That looks like a great place! I really like the photo of the large Operation game. Very cool! Thanks for all of the info.

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