Neurosurgeon A/Prof Kate Drummond using the BrainLab machine
21 April 2017
News Category: 
Patient stories

New state-of-the-art technology, which provides real-time imagery to surgeons mid-operation, has helped to increase the accuracy of brain surgery.  

The Brainlab Automatic Registration System enables neurosurgeons to precisely pinpoint and navigate around brain tumours during surgery.

Associate Professor Kate Drummond, Director of Neurosurgery at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, said that the new technology has significantly improved how we treat people with brain tumours.

“This cutting-edge technology allows images of the brain tumour taken pre-surgery to be updated and used during surgery, therefore enhancing accuracy and providing real-time imagery to the surgeon during the operation.

Neurosurgeon A/Prof Kate Drummond using the BrainLab machine 2

This helps to improve the safety, accuracy and completeness of brain tumour removal and it significantly improves outcomes for patients by alleviating some of the risk associated with brain surgery and the time that the patient spends in hospital.”

The Brainlab Automatic Image Registration system works by fitting Brainlab hardware, incorporating a registration matrix, to the patient’s head before, during and after surgery to provide precise imaging while removing the tumour. During surgery, the surgeon can view real-time images of the tumour on the navigation screen.

Prior to this, surgeons relied on images taken of the brain before surgery. However, as the brain changes shape and position during surgery, the images became increasingly inaccurate as the brain tumour is removed.

The technologically-advanced system integrates its hardware and software seamlessly with the RMH’s state-of-the-art intra-operative MRI (iMRI), which was commissioned in 2015. The iMRI enables surgeons to image a patient via an MRI scanner while a patient is undergoing surgery.

The RMH’s Department of Neurosurgery is at the forefront of brain tumour treatment in Australia and a major hub for removal of the most complex brain tumours. With referrals from all over Australia, the Brainlab Automatic Image Registration is a critical technological requirement for seamless high-precision surgical cancer navigation.

The Brainlab Automatic Registration System was generously funded by PACCAR Australia, a subsidiary of PACCAR Inc. who are a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of light, medium and heavy-duty trucks.

Managing Director Andrew Hadjikakou said, “PACCAR’s support of The Royal Melbourne Hospital is important to us, as we understand the difference they make in not only providing world-class healthcare to people, but also spearheading medical innovations. I look forward to continuing to support one of the world’s healthcare leaders.”