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Robotic surgery system used successfully to treat brain aneurysms

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | March 03, 2020
Operating Room
Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira views images from remote control stent placement for a brain aneurysm. copyright Roger Boyle
Surgeons in Canada have, for the first time, successfully treated a brain aneurysm with a robotic surgery system.

The researchers say the system has the potential to allow for similar surgeries to be completed remotely.

Dr. Vitor Mendes Pereira, a neurosurgeon and neuroradiologist at the Toronto Western Hospital and professor of medical imaging and surgery at the University of Toronto, said the robotic surgery system is normally used in cardiovascular surgeries, but was adapted for use in endovascular procedures in the brain, which use microcatheters, guidewires and the other devices.

The system is manufactured by Corindus, a company that was acquired by Siemens Healthineers last year.

“What the robotic system adds to it is precision,” Pereira told HCB News. “You can control catheters better. Also, it’s like an additional hand.”

The first patient treated was a 64-year-old female with an unruptured aneurysm at the base of her skull. The surgeons used the robotic arm to place a stent and coils to close off the aneurysm. The team used the robot to perform five additional successful aneurysm treatments.

Since the robotic surgeries are done remotely, the surgeon doesn’t have to wear a lead shield and can sit in a more comfortable position, Pereira said.

The technology will also eventually make it possible for patients in remote locations to receive lifesaving surgeries more quickly, improving the outcomes of patients who don’t need to be transported.

“You have 80 to 90% of the population who don’t have access to this type of treatment in the first hour,” Pereira said. “In Canada and the U.S., stroke will be the biggest target. Some countries don’t have access to the same technology, so we can also treat patients in different countries if they don’t have the experts.”

A multicenter study showing the safety of these procedures is expected to begin shortly to show its safety, Pereira said.

The research was recently presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 in Los Angeles.

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