For a percentage of epilepsy patients, medication is less effective at controlling seizures, or it doesn’t work at all. For these patients, there is another option: brain surgery. This is usually a deeply invasive procedure, wherein the section of the patient’s brain is either removed, stimulated or disconnected; afterward, recovery can take up to three months.
A robot five years in the making by researchers at Vanderbilt University may be in line to make the surgery less time consuming, less invasive and with a shorter recovery time.
The area of the brain involved in epileptic seizures is the hippocampus, which is located in the lower regions of the brain. The surgical robot developed by mechanical engineering graduate student David Comber and mechanical engineering associate professor Eric Barth enters the brain from underneath by going through the patient’s cheek, carefully negotiating gaps in the bone. This is not only a shorter route, it also avoids drilling through the skull. More