Traditionally, surgery to remove a brain tumor requires neurosurgery through a large opening in the skull, heavy sedation, and potent medications to relax the brain and keep it from swelling. Patients spend at least three days in the hospital before returning home to recuperate.
A new, tube-like device, called the Brain Path, gives doctors and brain tumor patients another option. Duke neurosurgeons are the first in the area to use the device to reach tumors deep in the brain.
First, sophisticated computerized imaging maps a safe path to the tumor. This helps to minimize manipulation of, and damage to, vital brain tissue, which helps preserve brain function. Using the navigation system, the Brain Path tube, which is about as wide as a dime, is inserted into the brain through a small opening in the skull.