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neuroArm robot performs brain surgery: A world first

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Published on Jul 15, 2008

A surgical team at the Foothills Medical Centre has successfully performed groundbreaking neurosurgery with a robot developed by a team at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine.

Paige Nickason, 21, is recovering after having a tumour removed from her brain with the assistance of neuroArm, a surgical robotic system developed by a team led by Dr. Garnette Sutherland, a Calgary Health Region neurosurgeon and professor of neurosurgery in the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine.

neuroArm is the world's first MRI-compatible surgical robot capable of both microsurgery and image guided biopsy. The surgical robotic system is controlled by a surgeon from a computer workstation, working in conjunction with intraoperative MR (magnetic resonance) imaging. Dr. Sutherland developed the intraoperative MRI machine with Winnipeg-based IMRIS Inc. The technology allows a high field MRI scanner to move in to the operating room on demand, providing imaging during the surgical procedure without compromising patient safety

Using neuroArm in the operating room has significant advantages for both surgeons and patients.

"This system has exceptional capabilities. This is a turning point in the performance and teaching of neurosurgery," says Dr. Sutherland. "neuroArm will improve surgical outcomes as it is less invasive and more delicate in its touch."

neuroArm also aims to revolutionize neurosurgery and other branches of operative medicine by liberating doctors from the constraints of the human hand.

About the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary:

The U of C's Faculty of Medicine is a national leader in health research with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in health care research, education and delivery. Through its educational programs, the Faculty of Medicine trains the physicians and scientists who will lead the next generation of health practitioners. Through its clinical work, continuing medical education programs, and close relationship with the Calgary Health Region, the Faculty of Medicine moves new treatments and diagnostic techniques from the laboratory bench to the hospital bedside efficiently and effectively, improving patient care.

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