Tonight at 9 p.m., National Geographic Channel will be broadcasting live from UH Case Medical Center as Drs. Jonathan Miller, Jennifer Sweet and Benjamin Walter perform a deep brain stimulation procedure, the first-ever brain surgery televised live in the United States. Read the full announcement below.
Veteran Newscaster Bryant Gumbel will bring a national audience into the operating room at University Hospitals Case Medical Center to witness the modern marvel of live brain surgery on Sunday, Oct. 25.
National Geographic Channel will capture the drama of an awake deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery of a patient with Parkinson’s disease. This television event will blend live coverage from the operating room at UH Case Medical Center – a first on U.S. television – with pre-produced features that chronicle what science and medicine have historically taught us about the brain, and what is yet to be discovered. The live two-hour special premieres in the U.S. Sunday, Oct. 25, at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Mundo, and globally in 171 countries and 45 languages.
In the high-tech operating room at UH Case Medical Center, robotic cameras and manned, handheld cameras will allow viewers to see exactly what the neurosurgery team is seeing. The show also will utilize the hospital’s cutting-edge Surgical Theater 3-D surgical simulator – developed at UH Case Medical Center and the only patented and FDA-cleared platform for neurosurgical preoperative planning – which is currently available in only five hospitals in the U.S.
This live premier will feature UH neurosurgeons Jonathan Miller, MD, Director of the Center for Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery and George R. and Constance P. Lincoln Master Clinician, and Jennifer Sweet, MD. The pair will be joined by neurologist Benjamin Walter, MD, Director, Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center and the Penni and Stephen Weinberg Master Clinician.
“By partnering with National Geographic and Mental Floss, two incredible brands with a passion for exploring science, we hope to demystify brain surgery, diminishing the fear and stigma of this operation,” Dr. Miller said. “We hope that this live broadcast of a deep brain stimulation surgery will educate viewers and offer a comprehensive look at this cutting-edge surgery.”
Through this delicate, elective procedure, an opening is made in the skull to access the brain, and the patient remains fully awake in order to communicate with the neurosurgeons and neurologists. This enables the neurologists to target the electrodes and test the patient to ensure they have pinpointed the affected area of the brain. DBS surgery, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat essential tremor in 1997 and Parkinson’s disease in 2002, is only performed at select medical centers with a highly specialized team and equipment.