Neurosurgeons at Lafayette General Medical Center are pioneering a new technology for patients needing complex brain surgeries. The hospital announced this week that it recently became the first in Louisiana, and only the second location in the world, to utilize a GPS-like brain surgery system called BrightMatter Servo Solution.
This system, by Synaptive Medical, helps neurosurgeons navigate the brain’s 3D fiber tractography, according to a press release. Servo uses three elements — robotic-assisted lighting and optics, GPS-like guidance and navigation planning software — to help the neurosurgeon see the target. Another new technology used in conjunction with BrightMatter Servo, called BrainPath, allows the surgeon to access the abnormality where it can then be removed through a narrow corridor using an opening the size of a dime. LGMC has been using BrainPath since February 2014 and was one of the first hospitals in the country to adopt the technology.
LGMC’s first case with the BrightMatter Servo was April 22, in which neurosurgeon Alan Appley performed a procedure to remove a difficult brain tumor from a patient he says was an ideal candidate for this system. By integrating digital mapping and 3D imaging, BrightMatter Servo provides a neurosurgeon with optimized visualization, piloted by an automated tracking system outfitted with a surgical scope.
The robotic arm that repositions the light and optics for the surgeon offers several advantages. It saves time, as the surgeon can now change the position of the light with a tap of a foot pedal to view the surgical field. Previously, a surgeon would have to pause surgery to manually readjust and re-secure the light. Less time in surgery reduces stress on the patient, lessens the risks of infection and allows the surgeon to be more focused for the duration of the surgery.
In addition to improved lighting, the 3D tractography of the brain’s fibers allows the surgeon more efficient navigation of the brain. Through the combined planning, 3D visualization and tracking elements of the system, a surgeon has more information, which provides better control during surgery and in planning the surgery.
“As an engineer, your No. 1 job is to solve problems,” Dell says in the release. “Neurosurgeons around the world struggle with the problem of getting the best possible view of a patient’s brain so they are able to effectively and efficiently complete the surgical procedure. Working on our robotics platform was a chance to make an innovative idea a reality.”