PITTSBURGH, March 29, 1999 — Neurological surgeons at cs are using a new robotic guidance system which allows brain surgery to be performed with greater precision. The device, called the SurgiScope®, gives surgeons the ability to better plan their approach to brain surgery, making smaller incisions possible and reducing risk to the patient.
The system consists of a spider-like, ceiling-hung robotic arm, a microscope and interactive guidance based on magnetic resonance (MR) or computed tomography CT) images. Doctors use it both for planning surgery and also to guide them during the operation.
"This system allows us to more accurately pinpoint and remove brain tumors," said L. Dade Lunsford, M.D., chief of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Lars Leksell Professor of Neurological Surgery, professor of radiation oncology and professor of radiology. "We can better navigate complex anatomy through the system’s continuous virtual guidance to the tumor and minimize damage to healthy tissue."
The SurgiScope® works by correlating the patient’s CT or MR images with a microscope that is connected to the robotic arm. The images are loaded into the computer and are used in conjunction with three infrared cameras to precisely align and calibrate the microscope in relation to the patient’s head. On a computer screen, the system displays the focal point of the microscope on the corresponding image, updating the display in real time as the microscope is moved. The patient also can be moved if necessary.
While the surgeon adjusts the focal point of the microscope on the patient, the system shows the trajectory from the microscope’s point of view relative to the patient’s brain tissue, as well as to the structures along its path. Since the system is interactive, the surgeons can define a point of interest on an image and instruct the SurgiScope® to locate it.
"By either moving the microscope or scrolling through the images on the computer screen, we can investigate structures surrounding a pathology and consider alternative surgical approaches," Dr. Lunsford said.
The Food and Drug Administration-approved SurgiScope® can be used in a wide variety of procedures, including the treatment of intra-cerebral tumors and cysts, skull-base lesions, bone lesions, vascular malformations and epilepsy.
For additional information, please call 412-647-7744 or visit the department of neurological surgery website.