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February 18, 2004
ST. LOUIS -- Richard D. Bucholz, M.D., professor of neurosurgery at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, has been named the 2004 Missouri Inventor of the Year by the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.
He will receive the award on Thursday, Feb. 19.
Dr. Bucholz, who holds the K.R. Smith Endowed Chair in Neurosurgery, is a pioneer in developing and implementing image guided surgery, which uses computer technology to make surgical procedures more effective and accurate.
"It is indeed a tremendous honor for me to be selected as this year's recipient of the BAMSL award. Clearly this recognition could not have occurred without the extensive support and assistance that I have been given by the administration of Saint Louis University, my staff at the medical school, and the efforts of Surgical Navigational Technologies, now a division of Medtronic Inc.," Dr. Bucholz said.
"An idea has an impact only if translated into reality; and through the efforts of a great many people has the idea of image guided surgery become available for many individuals undergoing brain surgery throughout the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all of their effort, and to express the hope that we will continue to improve surgery both on the brain and other organ systems in the years to come."
Dr. Bucholz's invention has been used to treat many patients suffering from neurological and other problems that require precise surgical procedures. Most major hospitals now have at least one image guided surgery system, and St. Louis University Health Sciences Center has been able to establish the Jean H. Bakewell Section of Image Guided Surgery.
"Due to Dr. Bucholz's innovative system for pinpointing the position of a surgical probe, neurosurgery is now much more accurate than it was 10 years ago, and image guided surgery has been brought into the mainstream of the hospital," said Frank R. Agovino, a patent attorney with Senniger Powers Leavitt & Roedel.
Dr. Bucholz's quest to change neurosurgery began more than 13 years ago, when he began to consider ways that a computer system could make neurosurgery more accurate and effective. With little budget and limited facilities, Dr. Bucholz began to develop a system for use in the operating room that would track the position of a probe within the patient's head. Dr. Bucholz's invention was a critical breakthrough given the need for precise removal of lesions in the brain, Agovino said.
Each year BAMSL's Patent, Trademark and Copyright Section recognizes a Missouri inventor whose contributions to science or technology are outstanding.
This is the 28th presentation of the Missouri Inventor of the Year.