An Israeli Inventor Who Invented a Surgical Tool to Save His Own Life

Yaron was 26 when his motorcycle crashed in 1993 and he was rushed to the hospital. While he was undergoing an MRI to verify the damage, doctors discovered a tumor in the middle of his brain.

“Avi, you will survive,” the doctors said. “But you need immediate surgery that will probably leave you disabled, paralyzed, cognitive dysfunction, and epilepsy.

Yaron, who was at the time a student of electrical engineering, was defeated. “Before that, I was in good health, I was active, I had a lot of life,” he says. “I refused surgery. I don’t know if it was intuition or pure denial, but that decision saved my life.

He began to research about his condition. He studied chemistry and anatomy. He investigated what technologies were available and interviewed doctors all over the world: in Israel, Europe and the United States.

He finally found a doctor in New York who would remove the tumor. “I felt an incredible sense of victory,” he says. “I had defeated the tumor!

But the doctor failed to remove it completely, and the tumor began to grow again. There was nothing else I could do: The existing endoscopes (the surgical tool used to guide doctors in minimally invasive surgeries) lacked the required 3D depth perception.

“Maybe someone will invent the small stereoscopic camera in the next five years,” the doctor said. “For now, it’s lucky your tumor grows slowly.

It was then that Yaron set out to invent the technology himself.

Instead of the kind of mechanics used in traditional endoscopes, he would base his invention on a small silicon chip and software algorithms. Its design mimics the eyes of an insect. Each side works independently to create the 3D vision.

Yaron launched Visionsense in 1998. It took another two years to come up with a prototype and another 10 years to create a commercial product. But the product has already been adopted by surgeons around the world and the company has been growing steadily.

During the course of his illness, Yaron became convinced that Western medicine “ignores the emotional aspect” and that patients “who manage their anxiety and stress live longer with better health. The future of medicine, he says, lies in “predictive development, preventive systems based on emotional factors. That’s my challenge now.

Today, Yaron is 51 years old and healthy. Finally, it wasn’t his company’s technology that eliminated the last fragments of resistant tumors in his brain, but three additional surgeries in three different countries: Germany, Israel and New York.

If Visionsense had developed its VSiii 3D camera system earlier, those surgeries would have been easier to perform, safer, and come with very little recovery time.

In addition to his impetus for innovation, Yaron currently volunteers to train patients with brain tumors. Although he doesn’t provide medical advice, his condition taught him “a lot about humility,” he says. “I’m here to serve you”.

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