Leading-Edge Stereotactic Brain Surgery Benefits Patients

July 2, 2009

Some of the world’s most advanced stereotactic technology is now available right here at Floyd Memorial Hospital. Michael Doyle, MD, a neurosurgeon who is highly experienced in using this remarkable equipment, explains how it works and the dramatic benefits it brings to patients.

Image-Guided Brain Surgery

“We now have a system in the operating suite that allows us to navigate through the brain using image guidance,” explained Dr.Doyle. “That means MRI images of the brain are displayed on a computer monitor. A series of cameras are linked with the computer and with our surgical instruments, which have light-emitting diodes in their tips. A digital camera senses the position of the instruments in the brain and displays their position on the computer monitor. We can then see exactly where we are within the brain without the need to make a large incision.”

Pinpoint Accuracy

Dr. Doyle said the stereotactic navigation system, called the Medtronic Stealth, works something like a GPS system in your car. “With this, however, we can know within just one millimeter where our instruments are, and where the abnormality in the brain is. We can work directly on the tumor or lesion and see its borders to make sure we do the most complete resection, or removal, possible. We can also see the lesion in relation to other structures in the brain. The instruments give us the precision and control to remove the maximum amount of tumor while minimizing impact on critical brain structures that surround it.”

Stereotactic Biopsies

“The stereotactic system also allows us to do biopsies of lesions in the brain while making only a tiny incision,” added Dr. Doyle. “We can make a tiny hole, pass the needle in, position it exactly into the lesion and remove a sample. We then immediately have pathology look at it and give us vital information while the patient is still in the operating room.”

According to Dr. Doyle, “Years ago, our only option was the open biopsy, which required a large incision through the skull. The early stereotactic systems that came next required the patient’s head to be secured in a large and bulky frame. Today’s stereotactic systems are a great improvement, making the whole process much simpler, safer and more accurate.”

Significant Patient Benefits

Stereotactic brain surgery and biopsies offer significant benefits to the patient:

  • Incisions are smaller. Because a surgeon can localize the tumor precisely, he or she can exactly target it during surgery or biopsies.
  • Procedures are faster and simpler.
  • The surgeon can be more certain of getting a complete resection without damaging
  • surrounding structures, which leads to a better outcome.
  • Patients recover faster, more completely and with fewercomplications.

“This advanced stereotactic navigation system allows us to see within one to two millimeters of accuracy where our instruments are within the brain. We can also visualize the precise shape and location of the tumor, all without a large incision. It gives us the precision and control we need to remove the maximum amount of tumor while avoiding critical structures in the brain.”

Michael Doyle, MD
Board Certified Neurosurgeon