Gadget Gobbles Brain Tumors!

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FLORIDA —

BRAIN TUMOR BACKGROUND:  A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself, or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastasize). Brain tumors may be classified as either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior.

A benign tumor does not contain cancer cells and usually, once removed, does not recur. Most benign brain tumors have clear borders, meaning they do not invade surrounding tissue. These tumors can, however, cause symptoms similar to cancerous tumors because of their size and location in the brain.

(Source: cancer.stanford.edu)

TREATMENT: Surgery is usually the first step in the treatment of brain tumors. The goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible while maintaining neurological function. A biopsy is also done to examine the types of cells the tumor is made of for a diagnosis. This is frequently done if the tumor is in an area with sensitive structures around it that may be injured during removal. (Source: cancer.stanford.edu) The traditional surgical technique for accessing brain tumors is called a craniotomy. It involves peeling away skin from the face and cutting the skull open. There is a high risk of infection, substantial blood loss and considerable facial scarring from this method, among other complications. With the eyebrow method, the surgeon instead makes an incision along the eyebrow to access the base of the skull. The incision takes 2 to 3 days to heal, and the patient experiences lower risks of leaking spinal fluid or contracting meningitis.

“GOBBLING UP” TUMORS: The Nico Myriad is an automated, non-heat producing surgical device that removes tumor tissue using either open or endoscopic surgical techniques.  What sets this new technology apart from other neurosurgical devices is its ability to access hard to reach places in the brain.

The tool has an opening at the tip on its side, moving at 1400 cycles per second. It is controlled by the surgeon allowing the removal of the tumor to be very precise. 

"Patients who have tumors that are located in the depths of brain and are hard to reach can be removed using a dime sized opening in the skull and using a combination of navigation and endoscopes with the Myriad. This device allows the surgeon to get to the tumor without damaging the brain along the way," states Dr. Murali Guthikonda.  "We are also optimistic that this device will make a difference in treating patients with brain hemorrhages allowing us to achieve better outcomes with our patients and improve their quality of life.”

(Source: Detroit Medical Center)