Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Drive to buy 'Sat nav' of brain surgery

Medtronic Navigation equipment
Image caption The Medtronic Navigation equipment has been dubbed the "sat nav" of brain surgery

State-of-the-art equipment, dubbed the "sat nav" of brain surgery, could be coming to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation has announced a £220,000 fundraising drive to buy the technology, which produces 3D images of children's heads.

The groundbreaking equipment could help more than 100 children each year.

Patients would receive the most up-to-date neurosurgery treatment to help brain tumours, epilepsy and infections.

The kit is currently available in only one other paediatric centre in the UK.

Soft skull

The new Medtronic Navigation equipment, which the Sick Kids Friends Foundation hopes to deliver to the hospital by early Autumn, uses image guidance technology to "map" the patient's brain by combining MRI, CT and Fluoroscopy to give 3D images of the child's head.

The position of the surgeon's instruments can then be tracked against those images during operations.

The 'sat nav' kit allows this type of technology to be used on children without the need to fix pins into the head, making the procedure available to babies, whose skulls are too soft for the use of pins, for the first time.

Maureen Harrison, Sick Kids Friends Foundation's chief executive, said: "Without technology such as this it can be difficult for surgeons to ensure, for example, the accurate positioning of a shunt in a child's brain, especially for infants.

"The Medtronic Navigation equipment will give surgeons a much clearer picture of the brain and enable them to work more precisely."

Jerard Ross, consultant neurosurgeon at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, added: "This piece of equipment is a significant advance in neuro-surgical technology.

"It will help us manage patients, both new and old, who come to Sick Kids for help with a range of conditions, including hydrocephalus."

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