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International Space Station technology used for brain surgery


Neurosurgeons at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) are utilizing Synaptive Medical Inc.'s Modus V™, a fully-automated, robotic digital microscope to perform brain surgery. Modus V, with its robotic arm derived from Canadarm technology used on the International Space Station – the same robotic arm technology used by NASA to deploy, capture and repair satellites in space – has been integrated by NSUH neurosurgeons in a medical first in the tri-state area.

"Modus V enables neurosurgeons to perform delicate brain surgery with much more precision, potentially allowing for less-invasive procedures that lead to quicker recovery times and reduced complications," said Michael Schulder, MD, director of the Brain Tumor Center at Northwell Health's Neuroscience Institute, and the leader of the Synaptive Technology project at NSUH. "The technology allows for increased surgical efficiency through hands-free control, better ergonomics during brain surgery and greater versatility in the operating room. The digital microscope's high-definition images offer a wider view of the surgical field and more enhanced images, improving the neurosurgeon's ability to perform even the most complex brain surgery." The new robotic imaging technology was used during surgery on March 30, performed by cerebrovascular neurosurgeon Henry Woo, MD, to remove a meningioma from Joseph Ventimiglia, of East Setauket, NY.

"The Synaptive Modus V incorporates multiple technologies including digital operative microscopy and robotics into a single seamless integrated platform," said Dr. Woo. "The technology allows surgeons to more efficiently utilize and incorporate preoperative imaging modalities during procedures that will hopefully shorten procedure times and improve outcomes. In this case, I was able to see around a bony edge to better visualize the tumor's attachment to the dura and sagittal sinus at an angle that would have been impossible with a standard surgical microscope."

Modus V has the benefits of automated robotics and hands-free positioning with tracked instrumentation, allowing the surgeon to achieve desired visualization angles without disrupting the workflow. Another advantage is the device's novel version of "auto focus," which allows the image to stay focused on the tip of the surgeon's instrumentation, refocusing as the surgeon works in different areas of the anatomy.

In conjunction with the Modus V robotic digital microscope, Synaptive's BrightMatter™ software platform displays automated, whole brain tractography, mapping out the patient's fiber tracts in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This information is then integrated into the intraoperative navigation screen during surgery. The images are displayed alongside the digital microscope's optical image in real time to ensure the least disruptive path is taken without damaging nearby healthy tissue.

"The Synaptive Modus V represents the next step in the evolution of neurosurgical technology that allows improved access and increased versatility for a wide variety of neurosurgical procedures, including patients with brain tumors, cerebrovascular conditions and many disorders of the spine as well," said Dr. Schulder. "The combination of maximal information of brain function, as well as improved intraoperative visualization, has the potential to make brain surgery as safe and as effective as possible."

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, more than 650 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 15,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

About Synaptive Medical
Synaptive Medical Inc., a Toronto-based medical device and technology company, collaborates with leading clinicians and healthcare systems to revolutionize products and services that cross traditional barriers to enable continuous improvement in care delivery in and beyond the operating room. Synaptive's integrated surgical platform-including surgical planning, navigation and visualization, and an informatics platform-are designed to give clinicians the right information they need to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

Michelle Pipia-Stiles
[email protected]

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