Advanced equipment for brain surgeries comes to Pakistan

Karachi: The Aga Khan University Hospital has become the first to introduce new extraordinarily advanced brain surgery technology to Pakistan – and the only hospital outside North America with this equipment.

The revolutionary technology – with its highly detailed 3D imaging and robotic positioning system – will transform the way surgeons operate on delicate areas of the brain and radically alter treatment options for patients.

Addressing the inaugural, Dr Amin Kassam, Vice President, Neurosciences System Clinical Programme, Aurora Neurosciences Innovation Institute, and Chair, Neurosurgery, Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, USA shared his experience of performing the world’s first neurosurgery using this system’s planning, visualization and automated technology in April last year.

“I have performed perhaps 10,000 brain surgeries in my career and this felt like the first time I had the tools I have always needed. From the first planning stages right up through the surgery itself, we finally had the kind of look inside the patient’s brain that previously we could have only dreamed of,” he said.

The system will enable neurosurgeons at the University Hospital to access the deepest parts of the human brain, distinguish between diseased and healthy tissues, and determine the best surgical approach to minimize neurological deficits during complex brain surgeries.

“This technology enables us to pre-operatively plan, prepare and then perform the surgery,” said Dr Ather Enam, Professor of Neurosurgery and Chair, Department of Surgery, AKU. “The system takes highly detailed images of a patient’s brain and projects it on a screen while a computer guides the path according to the patient’s preoperative imaging.”

For patients, the minimally invasive surgery, means safer and more precise surgeries with less complications, faster recovery times and improved health outcomes.

Synaptive Medical’s President Cameron Piron said that the system is a GPS of sorts for the brain, which gives surgeons a visual representation of the complex structures of the brain.

“For us, this system is a first step towards the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Neurosciences at AKUH, which will provide comprehensive and quality care for all diseases related to the nervous system and spine,” said Aga Khan University’s President Firoz Rasul. “Our vision is high quality healthcare covering the entire spectrum from technology and facilities to care.”

Fact sheet

Neurosciences – an overview
Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system – the network of nerves and cells in the brain, spinal cord and vertebral column that enables all activity.

Since all action by the body relies on signals transmitted through the nervous system, its diseases require very careful treatment and, often, complex surgery.

Significance of the new equipment

This system by Synaptive Medical has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration in April 2015 for use in US operating rooms.

Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi is the only hospital outside North America to have access to this system.
The equipment will facilitate safer, more precise surgeries due to:
• Detailed 3D imaging to help surgeons visualise the brain’s internal networks and to accurately distinguish between diseased and healthy areas.
• Surgical tools for greater flexibility and navigation in complex surgeries.
• Intricate robotic positioning enabling surgeons to reach deeper into the brain.
• Advanced sensors and lasers for targeted treatment that avoids harm to other parts of the body.
Expected impact
• Safer, more precise surgeries
• Quicker recovery times for patients and reduced post-operative stay.


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