A Breakthrough in Neurosurgical Retraction Technology

August 13, 2010

Michael W. Weaver, MD, assistant professor of Neurosurgery, Temple University, explains the Vycor Medical's ViewSite Brain Access System.

Michael W. Weaver, MD, assistant professor of Neurosurgery, Temple University, explains the Vycor Medical’s ViewSite Brain Access System (VBAS).

Vycor didn’t come up with the idea for a minimally invasive brain access system, but they definitely made it a lot better than what it had been. Taktell was sort of the pioneer in using this tubular retraction system, which is a way of accessing the brain’s deep structures by a small surgical corridor. And it’s a retractor system that actually gives you a good visualization of the deep structures but minimizes the amount of damage and retraction to the transient cerebral cortex, or the brain itself.

For brain tumor surgery, you are either relegated to using little ribbons that sort of retract out the normal brain so you can get to the deep-seated abnormality, or you can use a cylindrical system, which actually gives you a more uniform pressure on the brain. Some of the injuries and damage during brain surgery are not related to the pathology itself, but getting to it. This retractor system minimizes that and still gives you a pretty good surgical corridor to get down there and get the job done.

Any kind of deep-seated pathology in the brain could theoretically be utilized with this retractor system. It has applicability in most of the things we do intercranially. The biggest applicability, though, is for deep tumor resection.

Any kind of technology or technique or therapy that you can use that minimizes collateral damage or injury to the surrounding organ is in the patient’s best interest. For their mental health, it’s a safer way of taking out a tumor that’s going to hurt them.

Recovery times are slightly less. The steroid dependency and steroid taper, some of the medications you use for brain swelling, can be relatively less because there’s less traction injury.

This is a sort of see-through, polyethylene kind of device that’s very easy to use. It allows you to use modern tools and really does allow for a minimally invasive surgical corridor to reach deep-seated tumors that would normally require a lot of retraction and a lot more brain dissection. It’s reduced the amount of surgical time, so you can do these tumors quicker, you probably can do them as safely, if not safer, and I think it should be utilized for every deep-seated tumor.