It goes without saying that neurosurgery is a pivotal part of medicine, due to the fact that its purpose is to protect, treat and heal the most important organ in the human body. Still, neurosurgeons work with more than just the brain, due to the fact that the majority of procedures take place on the spine and spinal cord. Either way, this is an incredibly delicate and precise field of medicine, which requires potent tools and flawless instruments. All of this can be improved through technology and there are several tech improvements in the field of neurosurgery.
1. Metallurgy of instrumentation
The first innovation in the field of neurosurgery comes from the improvement in the materials from which the instruments are being made. Traditionally, most commonly used instruments were made from cobalt chrome, titanium, and stainless steel. Nonetheless, with the development of new metal alloys such as molybdenum-rhenium, the instruments can be made a lot smaller (thus being more precise), while still maintaining the durability of their predecessors. This is particularly important in spine surgery, where smaller rods and pedicle screw heads are much less painful hardware, thus increasing the efficiency of the overall surgery and its end result.
2. Visualization of brain tumors
One of the most surprising, as well as most welcome innovations in the field of neurosurgery, is the fact that a certain scorpion protein can be used in order to visualize brain tumors. The protein BLZ-100 has an incredible potential of binding with the tumor-cell, thus giving surgeons a much clearer vision of the tumor and a more reliable way of seeing the border between the tumor and the non-tumor tissue. This can allow for the removal of the tumor without the removal of the surrounding tissue. As for the effect of the protein, 30 days after the surgery, there were no adverse effects noticed in any of the patients.
3. Ziehm Vision RFD 3D
When it comes to surgical procedures of this type, a mobile C-arm is the only reliable way to increase surgical accuracy and reduce facility costs. This is why the majority of renowned neurosurgeons are considering Ziehm Vision RFD 3D to be an outstanding device. In fact, the benefits of this C-arm are even discussed at length in Dr Timothy Steel’s Neurosurgery Journal. Other than a standard 3D multi-planar image, this device also supports conventional 2D imaging, in scenarios where 3D is not required. With rotating anode X-ray tube and active liquid cooling, this piece of medical equipment is definitely a major breakthrough in medical technology.
4. A surgical vending machine
Another amazing innovation in the field of medical neuroscience is Xenco Medical’s incredible vending machine. This device dispenses disposable spinal tools and implants. From this device, pre-packed sterile devices are dispensed to be used in the OR. The biggest improvement that this will make is the fact that the risk of infection might become considerably lower. This also means that surgeons and clinics will no longer have to invest in keeping these devices in clean conditions, due to the fact that these composite polymer devices are all the protection that these tools need.
5. More complex tumor models
Finally, we return to the issue of tumors, due to the fact that the last relevant trend worth discussing comes from the field of math. With the help of complex algorithms, neurosurgeons will have a chance to access much more accurate tumor models and understand better what they’re up against. With the help of a detailed diameter, tortuosity, velocity and oxygenation map, standard tumor scans will be a lot more revealing. High-resolution MRI and micro-CT imaging will, therefore, be a lot more revealing.
While it is true that a lot of it comes down to the skill, knowledge and experience of the neurosurgeon in question, no one can deny the influence of proper tools and equipment. If the end result is saving more lives and, overall, improving the quality of lifestyle of patients around the globe, all of these changes and innovation are more than welcome.