OmniGuide's BeamPath Neuro succeeds where traditional scalpels fail in difficult brain operation

Feb. 2, 2009
FEBRUARY 2, 2009--CNN is reporting that a neurosurgeon in North Carolina used OmniGuide's (Cambridge, MA) BeamPath Neuro flexible CO2 laser scalpel to remove a brain tumor from a 19-year-old patient just three days after conventional tools proved unsuccessful. Following the initial surgery, Dr. Thomas Ellis saw a CNN report of how two Chicago-area neurosurgeons had used the device successfully; those doctors connected Ellis with OmniGuide, which provided the tool and training.

FEBRUARY 2, 2009--CNN is reporting that a neurosurgeon in North Carolina used OmniGuide's (Cambridge, MA) BeamPath Neuro flexible CO2 laser scalpel to remove a brain tumor from a 19-year-old patient just three days after conventional tools proved unsuccessful.

Dr. Thomas Ellis, a senior neurosurgeon at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in (Winston-Salem, NC), said he had become "very demoralized" after an unsuccessful six-hour operation to remove a large tumor from the teen, named Brandon. After six hours in the operating room and going through half a dozen scalpels, he only managed to remove 20 percent of the tumor." He said that in his 15 years as a neurosurgeon this was the most difficult tumor he'd ever seen, very firm and rubbery. Ellis said that each scalpel he used would dull after only 5 minutes of use.

That night, Ellis came across an article CNN had run about the the "Omni directional dielectric mirror," a pen-shaped fiber-optic tool that allows surgeons to carry out minimally invasive surgery on areas too difficult or delicate to access. The story described a surgeon's use of the device in surgery in Chicago. "Your story truly came at the perfect time," Ellis told CNN.

That night, Ellis contacted the neurosurgeon quoted in the original CNN story, who put him in touch with Omni Guide. The second CNN story quotes Ellis as saying, "Seventy-two hours later I held the device in my hands. Omni Guide sent someone to do a demo. I was extremely impressed and excited and very quickly I pretty much got the hang of it."

The original CNN story told of how in October 2008, doctors Bernard Bendok and Andrew Fishman of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, removed a tumor from the base of their patient, Stephen Abbott. Because of its location, the removal of the tumor would normally have been extremely laborious. But the flexible BeamPath Neuro gave the doctors extra speed and precision.

OmniGuide says its BeamPath Neuro is the first flexible CO2 laser scalpel for neurosurgery: a precise, no-touch microsurgical tool for such central nervous system (CNS) procedures as intracranial tumor surgeries, spine tumor surgeries, and transnasal pituitary surgeries. BeamPath Neuro is designed for operating near critical structures, for accessing difficult-to-reach regions of the brain and for minimizing thermal injury to adjacent healthy tissue of the brain or spine.

Prior to BeamPath, CO2 lasers could only be delivered through a large articulated arm system and were limited to "line-of-sight" procedures, says OmniGuide. As a result, CO2 lasers have rarely been used in neurosurgery.

BeamPath Neuro fibers empower surgeons to perform delicate cutting and coagulation with minimal thermal tissue damage and ultimate maneuverability. OmniGuide says that the device enables:

- Precise dissection: pin-point accuracy while separating adherent tumor from critical structures.
- Cutting: efficient and precise removal of tumor and tumor remnants.
- Debulking: shrinks tumor mass in a layer-by-layer fashion.
- Microvascular coagulation: operation on appropriate tumors within a clean field.

More information:
CNN's report of Ellis's success, CNN story helps surgeon perform 'lifesaving' op
CNN's original story, From military device to life-saving surgery tool
OmniGuide's BeamPath Neuro product details

--Barbara G. Goode, [email protected].

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