New remote robotic brain surgery could revolutionize aneurysm, stroke treatment

Robotic arm can precisely steer catheters through complex vascular system The patient in the groundbreaking […]

Robotic arm can precisely steer catheters through complex vascular system

The patient in the groundbreaking surgery is now recovering, the hospital said. It isn’t releasing her identity due to privacy concerns.
“I can’t believe how lucky I am,” she wrote in a statement provided by Toronto Western Hospital. “I’m living proof that such procedures are possible through robotics.”
The $1.2 million machine is manufactured by Corindus, a Waltham, Mass.-based subsidiary of the German multinational conglomerate Siemens.

Resolving ‘dilemma’ in Canadian medicine

While the strategy of targeting aneurysms and other blockages with catheters and stents has been in use for most of this decade, navigating the tortuous vascular system requires significant expertise.
That complexity means that patients in remote areas such as Northern Ontario do not have access to the operation, which Dr. Timo Krings has called a “major dilemma” in Canadian medicine.
“The expertise to perform these types of procedures is not available everywhere, which means we cannot provide the standard of care to a large portion of the population.” said Dr. Krings, who was bedside during the robotic surgery. He is also a neuroradiologist at the Krembil Brain Institute.
Strokes, Krings explained, can kill up to two million neurons per minute, making fast treatment essential but difficult to access for many Canadians.
That situation could be improved, he believes, by installing robotic machines at more hospitals across Canada. As long as a trained technologist is on site to troubleshoot and manage the device, a doctor could perform the surgery remotely from anywhere in the world.
They are hoping to perform a remote surgery within the next year.

While Krings and Pereira say that robotic assistance could be a revolutionary improvement, they also acknowledge that some doctors may be hesitant to give up control of their craft.
“Normally we as physicians, we have to be and want to be bedside,” Dr. Krings said.
And although the groundbreaking surgery could have been performed without robotic assistance, Dr. Pereira said he was “very happy” to have used the machine, especially during a difficult portion in which he installed stents inside the patients’ brain.
“I personally changed my opinion about this type of technology, and I do think that with time other physicians will do so as well, if they see this robot in action,” added Dr. Krings.
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