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Upstate University Hospital using ROSA brain robot for minimally invasive brain surgery

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

Date:

Dr. Zulma Tovar Spinoza (right) is director of pediatric neurosurgery, director of pediatric epilepsy surgery of neurosurgery and director of the laser ablation program of neurosurgery at Upstate Medical University. She stands next to the new ROSA brain robot in an Upstate operating room with neurosurgery resident Dr. George Koutsouras. (Photo credit: Upstate Medical University)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate University Hospital announced it has started using new robot technology to perform minimally invasive brain surgery.

The ROSA brain robot is a surgical navigation and positioning system that allows surgeons at Upstate to perform procedures “more accurately, with fewer complications and sometimes in half the time as before.” It “offers a higher level of accuracy and in many cases reduces procedure time by several hours,” the organization said. ROSA stands for robotic surgical assistant.

So far, Upstate Medical surgeons have used the technology for a pediatric laser ablation and for a procedure to treat epilepsy in an adult.

Dr. Gaddum Reddy, director of adult functional neurosurgery at Upstate, specializes in epilepsy and epilepsy surgery. Reddy described what’s called an invasive monitoring procedure he performs to identify the source of seizures in epileptic patients. Originally, the procedure was completed with a craniotomy, which involves removing a piece of skull bone. That procedure has since evolved to drilling tiny holes in the skull to place depth electrodes in the brain. Reddy said using that method, he could place 10 electrodes in about six hours.

In a recent, similar procedure using the ROSA Brain robot, Reddy said he was able to place 18 electrodes in just four hours.

“I was basically able to place twice as many electrodes in half the time,” he said.

His ability to place more electrodes gives him a better chance of identifying where the seizures are coming from. ROSA robot allows him to map placement of the electrodes with “greater speed and precision,” Reddy noted.

“The biggest benefit of the robot is twofold. It speeds up the process so rather than me having to manually put in these numbers (to map electrode placement), I put them all into the computer that’s attached to the robot and the robot goes from one point to the next point very quickly,” Reddy said. “There’s a lot of chance for error when I’m putting those points in. Using the robot, the accuracy was as good if not better and the risk of mistake was significantly lower because the machine takes care of all of the numbers.”

Dr. Zulma Tovar Spinoza is director of pediatric neurosurgery, director of pediatric epilepsy surgery of neurosurgery and director of the laser ablation program of neurosurgery at Upstate Medical University.

She is also using the ROSA brain robot, having most recently used it in a successful pediatric laser ablation surgery, Upstate Medical said.

“Everything went exceptionally well,” Spinoza said of that procedure using the ROSA brain robot.

Reddy and Tovar Spinoza both said they anticipate using the ROSA robot for most if not all future laser ablations and depth-electrode placement procedures.

Upstate says it is the “only hospital” in Central New York using the ROSA brain robot, which is housed at the downtown campus and created by device manufacturer Zimmer Biomet. The robot can also be used in deep brain stimulation, trans-naval and ventricular endoscopy, and brain biopsies.

Reddy said this new method and technology decreases the risk of infection, hemorrhage, and wound healing.

“This allows Upstate to treat our patients more effectively, faster and more accurately with less chance of complications,” Reddy said.