New technologies available at Conemaugh Health System are transforming the way brain surgery is performed in west central Pennsylvania. Using minimally invasive techniques and procedures, surgeons can locate, isolate and remove or repair a lesion without affecting nearby tissues. As a result, patients spend less time in the hospital, have shorter recoveries and significantly reduce their risk of complications.
Image-guided neurosurgery and neuroendoscopy are the primary methods used during minimally invasive procedures.
Image-guided neurosurgery uses advanced computerized technology and software to navigate the brain and precisely locate traumatic, cancerous, vascular or congenital abnormalities. With image guidance, Conemaugh neurosurgeons use minimally invasive techniques to target different areas of the brain. Using a sophisticated navigational pointer that registers pictures of the brain, surgeons reconstruct a 3-D image of the brain on a nearby monitor. The depth and clarity of the image allows surgeons to detect lesions of any size, as well as their relationship to the brain, veins, arteries, and nerves. As a result, lesions are repaired or removed safely, more precisely and faster when compared to traditional surgical techniques.
Minimally invasive neurosurgery is also known as neuroendoscopy and is often performed in conjunction with microscopic neurosurgery.
During neuroendoscopic procedures, surgeons use rod-lens and fiberoptic endoscopes that look like small telescopes to gain access to the brain, spine, and peripheral nervous system. The endoscope relays a clear image of the brain to a computer monitor, allowing surgeons to pinpoint the lesion. This minimally invasive approach requires just a small opening in the skull and even less manipulation of the brain. The result? Greater precision and safety for the patient.
The neuroendoscope can be used as the sole visualization source in an “endoscopic control” procedure and in conjunction with the microscope for an “endoscopic assisted” procedure.
Image Guidance + Neuroendoscopy
Our comprehensive neurosurgical program integrates image-guided navigation with neuroendoscopy to further increase precision, detail, and safety.
For example, our neurosurgery team will use this technology to find and map out difficult-to-reach lesions near the skull base or brain. Using microscopic and endoscopic visualization that requires only a small incision into the skull, they can then perform “keyhole” skull base surgery to correct the problem. Common procedures which integrate image guidance with neuroendoscopy include:
- Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement and revision
- Removal of retained ventricular catheter
- Third ventriculostomy
- Opening the septum pellucidum
- Opening multilobulated ventricular cysts
- Choroid plexus coagulation/plexectomy
- Transsphenoidal procedures related to pituitary tumors, lesions, choroid cyst removals, arachnoid cyst openings and removals
- Craniotomy clippage of aneurysm, craniotomy resection of brain tumors, and microvascular decompression
Although these and other minimally invasive techniques may not be appropriate in every case, they have been proven to be safe and effective alternatives to traditional surgery for those who are eligible.
For more information about image-guided capabilities, please call (814)534-5724.