GPS-guided, Minimally Invasive Treatment for Brain Tumors

GPS-guided, Minimally Invasive Treatment for Brain Tumors
A new technology at Jewish Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, can help patients with epilepsy and brain tumors previously considered inoperable.

The NeuroBlate System is a new technology that treats tumors and epilepsy using a laser guided by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The laser applies heat directly to diseased tissue in the brain until the damaged area dies. Depending on the size of the tumor, removal can take as little as two minutes.

When using NeuroBlate to treat patients, surgeons make a small opening in the skull. The tiny incision means NeuroBlate patients have less pain, discomfort and scarring, as well as a faster recovery following the procedure, compared to patients who have open procedures.

“NeuroBlate is a minimal access procedure — it’s done through a hole the size of a pencil eraser, and we only need to make one incision the width of a pinkie,” said Brian J. Williams, MD, neurosurgeon and director of the Brain Tumor Program in the University of Louisville Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Williams uses the NeuroBlate system on brain tumors. “The procedure is done using a GPS-guiding system that allows us to be ultra-precise. We watch the brain in real time to monitor the procedure.”

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A Broader Scope

NeuroBlate procedureNeuroBlate allows physicians to treat areas of the brain that are difficult to reach and is often used on patients who have recurring brain tumors. NeuroBlate may also be appropriate for patients with epilepsy who have tried two or more medications and still have uncontrolled symptoms.

“There are a lot of patients having seizures who don’t realize something can be done,” said Joseph S. Neimat, MD, neurosurgeon and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Louisville. “If you’ve had seizures twice a week for 20 years, that’s a tough way to live. It’s difficult to hold down a job or drive. With NeuroBlate, we help patients get their lives back.”

NeuroBlate is part of the neurosurgical hybrid operating room at Jewish Hospital, which was funded by the Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s Foundation.

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of One Health magazine. For the latest news on KentuckyOne Health, visit our News Center and read more about robotic laser therapy for brain tumors.