In an exciting project funded by the Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust, we are developing a sophisticated form of 'smart surgery' - Epilepsy Navigator - which we hope will lead to even safer surgery, improved seizure freedom and reduced risk of damage to language, memory, movement and vision.
Epilepsy Navigator is an interactive 3D-neuronavigation system that will simultaneously display critical brain functions, lesions, arteries, veins, blood vessels and the white matter tracts that connect different areas of the brain.
The pioneering system will enable neurosurgeons to plan the best operative approach for inserting recording electrodes in the brain and for removing parts of the brain that give rise to seizures.
Improved navigation during the operation will increase the precision and accuracy of surgery, enabling surgeons to remove the area that gives rise to seizures without damaging any vital structures.
Epilepsy Navigator is currently being evaluated by MedTronic Neuronavigation, in Colorado. We are beginning to introduce this into epilepsy surgery in a clinical trial at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
As well as benefiting people with epilepsy, these advances will have wider application for those undergoing tumour surgery and will be rolled out across the UK and globally.