Computer-controlled brain surgery

During brain surgery a good orientation is – obviously – very important. To be able to execute these operations as safely as possible, a technique has been developed that one could describe as the neurosurgeon's GPS.

By applying this technique, called 'neuronavigation', the neurosurgeon knows precisely where the lesion to be removed is located.

How does it work?

First of all, a full MR of the head is made, on which obviously the lesion can be seen, but also the nose, ears, in short the complete skull.

These images are entered into the computer.

After the patient has been anaesthetised, the exact location of the head is established by way of infrared cameras.  When the neurosurgeon now places the tip of an instrument on the head of the patient, he can see his position on the computer screen. The images are retrieved that correspond with the place where the tip of the instrument is located. This is shown more clearly on the picture below.

The processed images, with surgery planning and trajectory, are entered into the navigation device.

The two cameras will recognise the instruments in the area and the location of the instrument is indicated on the screen.

On the screen, one can follow during the operation the images of the MR and of the tip of the instrument that is being used. So, the surgeon knows at all times his exact position during the operation.

As one can establish very clearly where the lesion is located under the skull, one can also create the skull opening (the piece of the skull that is removed and re-placed afterwards) very accurately and to size, i.e. not too big, but not too small either.

Also the location of the lesion in the brains can be established very accurately this way.

This means that brain operations can be executed much more safely, with smaller access paths and less risk and pain.

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