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 hearing, 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 your 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, and other lesions 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
Jan. 30, 2020
- Stereotactic radiosurgery. American Association of Neurological Surgeons. http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Stereotactic%20Radiosurgery.aspx. Accessed Jan. 5, 2017.
- Pollock BE. Arteriovenous malformation radiosurgery: Now you see it, now you don't. World Neurosurgery. 2012;77:267.
- Parney IF, et al. Awake craniotomy, electrophysiologic mapping, and tumor resection with high-field intraoperative MRI. World Neurosurgery. 2010;73:547.
- Foy AB, et al. Stereotactic radiosurgery for pediatric arteriovenous malformations. Neurosurgery Clinics of North America. 2010;21:457.
- Lyons MK. Deep brain stimulation: Current and future clinical applications. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2011;86:662.
- Riggin EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. Nov. 14, 2019.
- Deep brain stimulation. American Academy of Neurological Surgeons.https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Deep-Brain-Stimulation. Dec. 10, 2019.
Computer-assisted brain surgery