Since the brain can shift during surgery, brain-mapping techniques and intraoperative MRI create accurate pictures of the brain that guide the neurosurgeon in effectively removing only the tumor and avoiding any functional brain tissue, to preserve motor function, language and other important brain functions.
In computer-assisted brain surgery, surgeons use imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), intraoperative MRI, computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, to create a 3D model of your brain. This may be done before, or in some cases during, your surgery.
This model allows your brain surgeon (neurosurgeon) to plan the safest way to treat your condition. During your surgery, the computer system precisely guides your surgeon to the area(s) of your brain requiring treatment.
Why it's done
Deep brain stimulation
Deep brain stimulation involves implanting an electrode deep within the brain. The amount of stimulation delivered by the electrode is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in your chest. A wire that travels under your skin connects the device to the electrode.
Computer-assisted brain surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions affecting the brain, including brain tumors, Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, epilepsy and arteriovenous malformations.
If you have a brain tumor, your surgeon may combine computer-assisted surgery with awake brain surgery.
Mayo Clinic neurosurgeons also use computer-assisted techniques to treat brain tumors, arteriovenous malformations, trigeminal neuralgia and other conditions with precisely focused beams of radiation using brain stereotactic radiosurgery.
If you have epilepsy, Parkinson's disease or essential tremor, computer-assisted surgery may involve deep brain stimulation. Your surgeons may use an MRI to help map your brain and plot the placement of the electrodes.
Computer-assisted brain surgery care at Mayo Clinic
April 21, 2022
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Stereotactic-Radiosurgery. Accessed Oct. 23, 2021.
- Chen CC, et al. Stereotactic cranial neurosurgery. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 23, 2021.
- Edwards CA, et al. Neurostimulation devices for the treatment of neurologic disorders. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017; doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.05.005.
- AskMayoExpert. Deep brain stimulation. Mayo Clinic; 2021.
- Deep brain stimulation. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Deep-Brain-Stimulation. Accessed Oct. 23, 2021.
- Braswell-Pickering EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Nov. 15, 2021.
Computer-assisted brain surgery