Neurological navigation: Ultra-accurate 'GPS' for brain surgery
During brain surgery, a good orientation is extremely important. To be able to perform these operations as safely as possible, surgeons of the OLV Hospital in Aalst apply a technique called “neurological navigation”, you could say the ‘GPS of neurosurgery'.
With this technique, the neurosurgeon knows the exact location of the lesion that must be removed.
How does neurological navigation work?
First, a complete MR-scan of the head is made, which not only shows the lesion but also the nose, ears, in short the entire skull.
These images are saved in a computer.
When the patient is under general anaesthesia, the place of the head is determined using infrared cameras. When the neurosurgeon then places the tip of a pointing device onto the patient's head, he can see its exact location on the computer screen. The images corresponding with the position of the tip of the device are loaded.
The processed images, with a planning and trajectory for the operation, are entered into the navigation device.
The two cameras recognise the devices in the room and indicate the position of the pointing device on the screen.
During the operation, the images from the MR and from the tip of the tool that is being used are shown. As a result, the surgeon knows at all times his exact position during the operation.
Because it is possible to determine the exact location of the lesion under the skull, the bone flap (this is the piece of skull that is removed and re-placed) can be made very accurately and to size, not too big but not too small either.
With this procedure, brain surgery can be performed in a much safer way, with smaller access paths and less risks and pain.