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Robotic technology may make brain surgery less scary

Norton Brownsboro Hospital is the first hospital in Kentucky to use the newest generation of robotic neurosurgery technology, called ROSA. Surgeons have already performed several operations using the ROSA robotic surgical assistant from Medtech Surgical to help patients with epilepsy and brain tumors.

ROSA’s main uses so far have been in biopsying brain tumors and assisting with a treatment plan for epilepsy. These procedures traditionally can take as long as 12 hours and involve a large incision through the skull.

With ROSA, brain tumor and epilepsy procedures can be performed in a much shorter time and with smaller incisions. This less invasive option may reduce the patient’s discomfort and the amount of time under anesthesia.

ROSA’s main colleague is David Sun, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Sun learned of ROSA in 2015. At that time the technology was just being introduced in the United States. He watched, waited and anticipated the day he could bring this minimally invasive, potentially life-changing surgical assistant to his patients.

“As a neurosurgeon I do complex surgery that requires large incisions and complicated skull-base work,” Dr. Sun said. “But with ROSA, we can move to smaller incisions and improved accuracy, which ultimately may be better for the patient in both recovery and moving forward.”

Dr. Sun describes the incisions with ROSA as about the size of raw spaghetti. Tiny instruments then travel inside the brain through those holes to treat the neurological condition.

“I set the entry point, target and safest trajectory, while the robot assistant ensures that I stay exactly on it,” Dr. Sun said. “With ROSA, I’m getting improved accuracy, and I’m doing it through tinier and tinier incisions.”

Norton Brownsboro Hospital is one of about 30 hospitals in North America with a ROSA robot.

ROSA’s surgical reach primarily focuses on patients diagnosed with brain tumors or epilepsy. To see if you are a candidate for ROSA, call Norton Neuroscience Institute at (502) 394-6390.


To see exclusive behind the scenes footage of ROSA being used in various capacities, view the video below:

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