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WFUBMC Surgical Webcast Scores Big with Viewers

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – More than 1,300 viewers logged on for the live internet broadcast of a deep brain stimulator (DBS) implantation for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, performed at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in April.

The audience for the live event was the second-highest viewership ever for a medical webcast produced by slp-3D, a Connecticut-based internet broadcasting company. The program was the world’s first live webcast of a DBS procedure and North Carolina’ first live webcast of a surgical procedure of any kind.

The webcast can now be seen anytime through the Medical Center’s main web site: www.wfubmc.edu. The archived webcast is expected to receive several thousand viewers each month. The program carries continuing medical education credit.

Viewers of the live event totaled 1,308, including 384 from North Carolina, 254 from Virginia, 296 from other states, and three from foreign countries.

In addition, portions of the webcast were carried on regional TV stations, and links to the broadcast were established with several websites, including MSNBC.com, Healthforum.com, Yahoo News, Discovery.com, Mass General Hospital Neurology Webforum, and several national Parkinson’s websites.

The deep brain stimulator therapy was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just three months ago for treatment of all movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, which can include tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. During the procedure, electrodes are positioned in the patient’s brain and connected to the stimulator, which is implanted under the collarbone. Stephen Tatter, M.D., a Medical Center neurosurgeon, performed the operation.

Five more medical procedure webcasts are planned over the next year-and-a-half. The next live event, laryngoplasty for voice disorders, will be webcast in July. Future procedures may include localized radiation treatment for liver cancers, reflux surgery for infants, use of the Gamma Knife, and implantation of a biventricular pacemaker.

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