Brain Cancer: New Brain Tumor Procedure Lessens Risk

Holland Doran

A new neurosurgery technique using a small port is a promising development in allowing brain tumor removal with a minimum of injury to normal surrounding brain tissue.

John D. Day, M.D., a nationally renowned neurosurgeon at UAMS in 2013 became the first in the state to use a minimally invasive, breakthrough brain tumor removal procedure using a tube-like tool and sophisticated three-dimensional brain imaging in two successful surgeries.

The cutting-edge surgery uses a new BrainPath ™tube, advanced imaging of tracts in the brain and a computerized brain navigation system, which allows physicians to navigate the brain with unprecedented clarity to target and suction out deep-seated brain tumors, abscesses and hemorrhages with much less disruption of tissue than with traditional techniques.

The surgery removes deeply located tumors in the brain considered difficult to safely access, such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBMs) and metastatic cancerous brain tumors.

Day, chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the UAMS College of Medicine, has performed this new surgery twice at UAMS with success — once for a malignant tumor and once for an abscess.

brain tumor treatment

New brain tumor procedure will lessen post-surgery risks.

“The procedure is the closest that we can get to a precisely targeted, flawless surgery for deep brain tumors,” Day said. “We are able to get to tumors in a much safer way that will put patients at less risk of brain damage and will preserve critical brain structures and tracts.”

Along with the Brain Path™ device, the Myriad™, a thin, tubular, three-in-one device (scissors, suction and blunt dissector) designed by NICO, is used to remove hard-to-reach tumors through the narrow corridor. The device can be used on multiple procedures and does not use heat, so there is less risk to surrounding tissue.

The many benefits of the breakthrough procedure, which creates a small, dime-size channel through the brain, include a faster recovery time, minimal internal and external scarring, less trauma to the brain and nerves, and few side effects and complications post-surgery. The procedure trumps traditional open surgery because a limited opening is created to access deep in the brain, so less of the brain is exposed, and the brain tissue is minimally disrupted, Day said.

Day underwent extensive training in March 2013 at Ottawa Civic Hospital in Canada in order to perform the surgery and says there are only about 50 neurosurgeons in the United States equipped to use the new devices. There have been around 150 of these procedures completed in the United States and Canada.