Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

3D Brain Technology Saves Lives In NWA

Computer Generated Brain Model Allows For Full Recovery

SPRINGDALE (KFSM) — Sidney Tennison woke up November 8th thinking it would be just another typical day. But that night, she was driving to a hotel after working out of town and hit by a drunk driver.

From there, everything is black.

"I don't remember anything until I woke up [in the hospital]," Sidney explained.

"By the time I saw her, she was in a deep coma from a very, very severe traumatic brain injury where the left side of the skull was completely fractured and depressed and pushing on the vital structures of the brain," remembered Northwest Medical Center Dr. Quoc-Anh Thai.

Just recently, Sidney's injuries could've been life-threatening or life-altering.

But Dr. Thai has brought a new 3D technology to Northwest Medical Center in Springdale that allowed them to create a model of Sidney's existing bone and have a computer generate a perfect match to implant her new skull.

"Can you imagine having a metal plate in your head? Bless people's hearts. This is a complete change," said Sidney's mom Kristina Eaton. "There will be no changes in my daughter's looks at all because of this. It's phenomenal with the technology."

While the technology is still new, Dr. Thai says procedures like this will soon be more common.

"It's gonna be standard in the very near future where we take the guesswork out of re-shaping brain injuries and skull defects by making it more scientific with computer assistance and modeling," Dr. Thai said.

Which to those impacted means more than just any old surgery.

"It means peace and love," Eaton explained. "We can continue our lives, and we can have a life we wouldn't have ever been able to have if we hadn't had been here in Arkansas at Northwest Medical Center where we had this technology available."

"I'm really happy, and I'm happy about this hospital, and I'm happy about Dr. Thai, and I'm ready to go home after that," Sidney concluded.

After a month of being hooked up to machines and IVs, Sidney is expected to be released on Thursday (Dec. 13) and make a 100% recovery.

If you would like to donate to help cover Sidney's medical cost and travel expenses for her family, you can find her GoFundMe page here.