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Brain tumour removed through hole smaller than dime

Last Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 20:25

Houston: Neurosurgeons have successfully removed a deep tumour from a 44-year-old US man's brain through a tube inserted into a hole smaller than a dime.

 More than two decades ago, Ryan Vincent had open brain surgery to remove a malignant brain tumour, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay and weeks of recovery at home.

 Recently, neurosurgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital removed a different lesion from Vincent's brain through a tube inserted into a hole smaller than a dime and he went home the next day.

 Gavin Britz, chairman of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, used a minimally-invasive technique to remove a vascular lesion from deep within Vincent's brain, the first to use this technique in the region.

 Traditionally, vascular lesions or brain tumours that are located deep within the brain can cause damage just by surgical removal.

 "With this new approach, we can navigate through millions of important brain fibres and tracts to access deep areas of the brain where these benign tumours or hemorrhages are located with minimal injury to normal brain," said Britz.

 "Ryan's surgery took less than an hour," he said.

 Britz and David Baskin are using a "six-pillar approach" that encompasses the latest technology in minimally-invasive surgeries - mapping of the brain; navigating the brain like a GPS system.

 They are safely accessing the brain and tumour/lesion; using high-end optics for visualisation; successfully removing the tumour without disrupting tissues around it and directed therapy using tissue collected for evaluation that can then be used for personalised treatments.

 The new surgical technique is used to remove cancerous and non-cancerous tumours, lesions and cysts deep inside the brain.

 This approach reduces risks of damage to speech, memory, muscle strength, balance, vision, coordination and other function areas of the brain, researchers said. 

First Published: Sunday, November 10, 2013 - 20:25
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