Robot-assisted deep brain stimulation surgery could treat epilepsy

Three of these procedures have thus far been undertaken in Canada.
Loukia Papadopoulos
MRI scans of the brains of epilepsy patients.jpg
MRI scans of the brains of epilepsy patients.

Nur Ceren Demir/iStock 

A neurosurgeon in Canada has become the first in the nation to perform robot-assisted deep brain stimulation surgery on a patient suffering from epilepsy with success.

This is according to a report by CTV News published on Wednesday.

“They’ve all been successful, all patients have been able to go home a day or two after the procedure,” told the news outlet Dr. Jonathan Lau, who practices neurosurgery at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.

Three of these surgeries have been undertaken since January.

Lau claims the process is similar to implanting a pacemaker for a bad heart.

“This is the same idea. People with epilepsy have a predisposition to having seizures, so they have irregular rhythms in their brain, in terms of the electrical activity. So same principle applies. An irregular rhythm there, so we put electrodes in the appropriate spots and they can restore function and prevent seizures,” said Lau.

The machine used during these procedures is a Renishaw Neuromate robot that allows for the safe placement of electrodes in hard to reach parts of the brain.

Oddly enough, Lau told CTV news it was almost by accident that the doctors came to use the device.

“It was actually a fairly routine day when we decided, ‘Okay, because we don’t have the other options let’s use the robot.’ So we inquired a little bit and it turns out nobody had done this for this indication in Canada,” he explained.

Now, Lau said the new tech makes the controversial but efficient surgery safer and quicker.

“With things like robotic assistance, with improvements in imaging, the risks of procedure are much, much lower, and it’s just raising that awareness,” he said.

The new treatment offers an option for some patients who would not otherwise be considered for surgery, told CTV News Lau.

Robot surgery seems to be becoming more popular as it often offers greater accuracy leading to better results and quicker recovery times.

Last week, we reported that UK surgeons were using robots to perform surgery on thousands of women plagued by the painful womb condition endometriosis.

The remote-controlled machines are being used by NHS Trusts to operate on all the women who missed out on these crucial operations during the Covid pandemic. The devices work with pinpoint accuracy meaning patients recover faster and better with less complications.

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