September 24, 2019

UAMS First in State with Advanced Brain Surgery Planning System

By Amy Widner

The software helps brain surgeons protect important parts of the brain that control functions like the senses, movement, language and memory through planning and interaction with compatible real-time navigation systems during surgery.

As a result, surgeons may be able to operate on tumors in parts of the brain previously considered inoperable, while still preserving important functions, maximizing the amount of tumor removed, and minimizing hospital length of stay.

“This type of planning technology is known as tractography, which uses 3D modeling of MRI scans and computer-based diffusion tensor imaging to help the surgeon visualize the complex network of nerve tracts and critical structures of the brain,” said J.D. Day, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the College of Medicine.

“It is complementary to our existing systems for the most ‘brain saving’ approach. From radiology, to planning, to every cut — we’re confident we offer the most accurate surgeries available with existing technologies,” Day said.

UAMS’ Department of Neurosurgery is also the first academic medical center program in the nation to receive the latest edition of the software, which UAMS surgeons began using in September.

The system is used primarily by Day and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. Day and Rodriguez see patients in the Neurosurgery Clinic at UAMS.

“By investing in the latest technology, our ultimate goal is to open new avenues and give our patients hope,” Rodriguez said. “In addition, advanced tractography has been shown to improve patient outcomes like length of stay and maximum tumor resection, which — especially for aggressive brain cancers like glioblastomas — correlates long-term with longer survival times.”