Changing the strategy for brain tumors

Multidisciplinary team work together to improve patients’ lives

Norton Healthcare is now the first healthcare provider in the region to use the latest in image-guided laser technology to treat brain tumors and lesions in the brain. NeuroBlate laser therapy uses real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide a laser probe that can precisely be controlled to kill abnormal tissue while doing as little harm as possible to surrounding healthy tissue. The new technology was purchased through a grant from the Norton Healthcare Foundation.

Now available at Norton Brownsboro Hospital, the NeuroBlate System reflects the benefits for patients when medical teams can cross over disciplines to provide the best care possible. For a patient with a lesion in the brain who is unsure of future outcomes, the two disciplines of neurology and cancer care working together can prove beneficial.

Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, executive director and physician-in-chief, Norton Cancer Institute, said that innovative technology and ability to work in cross-functional teams more than doubles what Norton Healthcare can offer patients.

“This is a clear example of how the whole can be so much greater than the sum of its parts,” Dr. Flynn said. “Individually our two disciplines provide excellent patient care, but the integrated care we can offer and achieve together benefits our patients and their needs.”

Norton Healthcare’s first procedure using NeuroBlate technology was performed Sept. 20, 2016.

Rather than making a large incision in the skull, NeuroBlate requires making just a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil. It can be used with patients who have lesions in areas of the brain that are difficult to access by traditional open surgery without harming essential functions like speech, vision and muscle control.

The procedure is considered minimally invasive surgery. It generally involves less pain, discomfort and scarring than traditional surgery and allows patients to go home and resume normal activity sooner.

David Sun, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon, Norton Neuroscience Institute, said the NeuroBlate technology can be used for some lesions that are difficult to access with standard surgery or ones that are considered inoperable.

“The procedure is done while the patient is in an MRI machine, allowing me to see the lesion and surrounding healthy tissue to apply laser energy where it is needed. The temperature of nearby healthy tissue is monitored to help ensure that it is protected as much as possible,” Dr. Sun said.

Thousands of people are diagnosed every year with brain diseases that require surgical intervention. Hundreds of patients around the country have undergone NeuroBlate procedures, which have been shown to be successful in reducing or removing diseased tissue.

“There are many types of brain tumors and lesions, so no single approach is right for all of them,” Dr. Sun said. “We are glad to add the NeuroBlate System to our collection of tools and therapy options to better serve the health care needs of our patients.”

Dr. Sun works closely with the referring physician from Norton Cancer Institute to determine which patients meet the criteria recommended for NeuroBlate procedures.

The NeuroBlate System is made by Monteris Medical. It was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in April 2013 and is in use at more than 20 of the nation’s leading health care institutions. It was also licensed by Health Canada in September 2014 as the first and only minimally invasive robotic laser thermal therapy tool available in that country.

Risk statement about the NeuroBlate System

As with any surgical procedure, the NeuroBlate System involves some risks. The technology is not appropriate for every lesion type and location. For example, it may be difficult to use the technology on certain large or irregularly shaped tumors. Certain placements of the laser probe into the brain or too much heat applied, may cause bleeding or permanent brain damage. Some patients have temporary swelling after the procedure that may cause short-term abnormal brain or nervous system function. Any medical situation, including NeuroBlate, which requires a patient to stay still for long periods, can cause dangerous blood clots (deep venous thrombosis). Talk to your physician about the risks of the procedure.

About Norton Neuroscience Institute

One in every three people — some 1.7 million in Kentucky and Southern Indiana alone — will be affected by a neurological disorder at some point in life. Established in early 2009, Norton Neuroscience Institute is the region’s leading provider of neurological care. Its team of specialists is dedicated to providing patients and their families with advanced treatment for complex neurological disorders, including ALS; aneurysms; brain tumors; epilepsy; headache and concussion; movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; pediatric neurosurgery; spinal injuries and disorders; stroke; and more.

With 30 subspecialty fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, neuropsychologists and support staff, area residents no longer have to leave Louisville for specialized neurological care and rehabilitation.  In 2015, Norton Brownsboro Hospital achieved the prestigious designation of Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This means the hospital’s stroke care team is able to treat the most complex cases and work toward providing the best possible outcomes for patients.

Patients and their families also have access to patient navigators and support services through the Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center, the Center for Independent Living and rehabilitation services. The center offers health information and assistance with getting connected to clinical trials, educational programs, support services, community resources and more to help patients live better. More information is available at

About Norton Cancer Institute

Norton Cancer Institute’s mission is to blend comprehensive treatment and services with compassion, hope and healing for patients and their families. Through a multidisciplinary approach, its team of specialists offers patients the latest in treatments and technology focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis, care and survivorship across a broad range of specialties that include behavioral oncology, gynecologic oncology, hematology, neuro-oncology, orthopaedic oncology and radiation oncology. Norton Cancer Institute offers state-of-the-art medical, surgical and radiation therapies, including minimally invasive robotic surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery (Novalis Tx and TrueBeam STx) and advanced brachytherapy, such as MammoSite. Patients have access to groundbreaking research through its participation in dozens of innovative National Cancer Institute and industry-sponsored clinical trials. Extensive educational, physical and emotional support services, including support groups, seminars, art and music therapy, massage therapy, yoga and nutritional counseling are available through four Norton Cancer Institute Resource Centers. Norton Cancer Institute is designated by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer as the only accredited Integrated Network Cancer Program in Kentucky. More information is available at

About the Norton Healthcare Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of Norton Healthcare’s not-for-profit adult services, the Norton Healthcare Foundation raised more than $5.5 million in 2015 to make a difference for programs, equipment and facilities, research and education spanning Norton Cancer Institute, Norton Heart Care, Norton Neuroscience Institute, Norton Women’s Care and other health services. The foundation also supports adult-service initiatives at Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Hospital, and Norton Women’s & Norton Children’s Hospital. This support allows caregivers and the hospitals to stay up to date with medical advances and technology, thereby maintaining the community’s access to high-quality health care. For more information, visit or call (502) 629-8060.

About Monteris Medical
Monteris Medical (Plymouth, Minnesota) is a privately held company developing devices for minimally invasive image-guided solutions for neurosurgeons who are treating diseases of the brain. By combining the imaging power of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), advanced navigation software, and laser technology, Monteris has created a device to reach virtually any area of the brain. The NeuroBlate System applies focused laser energy to kill brain tumor and lesion tissues while limiting effects on surrounding healthy tissue. For more information on Monteris Medical, visit or for patient-directed information, please visit the company’s patient website at

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