New technology speeds stroke care, increases precision for brain surgery

Norton Brownsboro Hospital is one of the first in the country to install equipment that provides 3D images of parts of the brain

Breakthrough imaging equipment in two new procedure rooms at Norton Brownsboro Hospital provides 3D pictures of the inside of the brain, giving neurosurgeons detailed, multi-angled views of blood vessels causing strokes and aneurysms.

Using new biplane X-ray technology, Norton Neuroscience Institute specialists are better able to identify and analyze these diseases. The equipment, which provides high-resolution imaging and computational ability, not only allows surgeons to see the vessels better but also simulates how medical devices will fit before they’re ever used in the patient.

“The image quality of the machine is an integral piece of patient safety, because the higher the resolution of the blood vessels, the more efficiently and effectively we can operate on patients,” said Tom L. Yao, M.D., endovascular neurosurgeon with Norton Neuroscience Institute. “The technology allows us to see and understand the vessels that are less than one millimeter in diameter. We can redraw and analyze the vessels in a virtual 3D space. Not only does it help with ischemic strokes, but it also helps with the hemorrhagic strokes as well, which are caused by aneurysms, AVMs [arteriovenous malformations] and fistulas.”

Norton Neuroscience Institute

Norton Healthcare operates the area’s largest stroke system, with Norton Brownsboro Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at its core.

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The biplane X-ray tubes and computer software recently received Food and Drug Administration approval and represent the newest iteration of virtual and 3D modeling. Norton Brownsboro Hospital is the eighth in the country to receive the equipment. It is the only hospital in the nation to install two of this type in biplane rooms in one facility.

Biplane rooms give doctors options for the best treatment

The biplane equipment uses two X-ray tubes — each rotating around the patient — capturing images simultaneously. When combined digitally, the two sets of images form a 3D picture of the area in fine detail while the patient is on the operating room table. It also allows for simulations that can determine the best course of treatment.

The new imaging equipment is installed in Norton Brownsboro Hospital’s two hybrid biplane rooms. In these hybrid rooms, doctors can perform interventional procedures — treating a clot or bleed through an artery in the leg or wrist — or open up the skull if necessary, without the delay and stress of moving the patient to a separate area for surgery.

“Being able to do both types of procedures in the same room gives us a big advantage in the fight against time,” Dr. Yao said. “We lose about five to seven million neurons a minute in a stroke, so each minute that passes greatly affects what we can get back. The fact that we have two of these setups allows us to handle multiple cases at the same time as well.”

Advanced stroke treatment requires big investment

Norton Healthcare operates the area’s largest stroke system. Norton Brownsboro Hospital is Norton Healthcare’s flagship neurosurgical hospital, which is certified as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Norton Brownsboro Hospital uses advanced technology and a specialized team to care for the most severe of stroke cases, which can lead to better outcomes, according to the certification.

Norton Healthcare has provided the latest technology/software, multiple hybrid operating rooms to provide care, and health care teams to fully support the surgeons, which will greatly benefit the community, according to Dr. Yao.

“By building these rooms and getting this equipment, Norton Healthcare has shown its continued commitment to providing excellent stroke care,” Dr. Yao said. “It’s a major investment, but it’s what’s best for the community. Thanks to the investment, we can treat patients with complicated neurological issues better than ever before.”

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