Single-Port Intracranial Endoscopy

Single Port Intracranial Endoscopy

Surgeons, from left to right, Zachary Litvack, MD; Jonathan Sherman, MD; and Anthony Caputy, MD, perform single-port surgery on a patient at the George Washington University Hospital Neurosciences Institute.

A complicated name, but this technique is making brain surgery easier
on patients.

In May, Sam Sandler had a 3.5 cm, noncancerous brain tumor removed from the deepest part of his brain at the George Washington University Hospital. Sam’s surgery was on a Tuesday and he was home by Friday evening. Hard to believe? Not with single-port intracranial endoscopy.

Intracranial endoscopy uses high-definition imaging and paper-thin fiber optic instruments to inspect, treat and remove tumors and cysts from the brain. GW Hospital neurosurgeons take this technique a step further by conducting the procedures through a single opening, or port — the size of a nickel — in the patient’s skull. This minimally invasive approach streamlines the procedure immensely.

The best location for single-port entry is guided by the surgeon’s knowledge of functional anatomy, assisted by a StealthStation® S7® surgical navigation system. The endoscope system — which is the diameter of a pencil, or at most, a Sharpie® marker — is inserted to create an “operative corridor.” A microscopic fiber optic camera provides high-definition visualization of everything inside.

Zachary LitvackAccording to Zachary Litvack, MD, MCR, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Otolaryngology, Director, Minimally Invasive Cranial Surgery, the instruments used to remove the tumor pass through the endoscope, and the work is done through this channel.

“Once the endoscope is in place, you’re not disturbing the ‘normal’ parts of the brain or the surrounding tissues, so it’s less traumatic for the patient,” says Dr. Litvack.

Sam Sandler was relieved to learn that his surgery only required two or three minor incisions, all of which would be easily camouflaged at the hairline.

He and his wife Betty credit his surgical team for their “incredible” work, fast action and the team’s ability to bring Sam home quickly.

“Using a traditional approach, Sam would have been in the ICU for five to seven days and in the hospital for about two weeks,” says Dr. Litvack. “Endoscopy can mean an easier recovery and a shorter time away from home for patients.”

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GW Hospital's
Neurosciences Institute

The Neurosciences Institute at the George Washington University Hospital is one of the premier neurological centers in the world. Patients come for comprehensive care by internationally recognized experts. The team treats patients with neurological problems, including brain tumors, epilepsy, aneurysms, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as spine and neuromuscular issues.

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Intracranial Endoscopy
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The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

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