The University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor announced that, as part of the development of four new operating rooms, it will become one of the first hospitals in the US to start using new top-of-the-line neurosurgical imaging equipment.

The BrightMatter technology from Synaptive Medical – a highly detailed imaging and robotic positioning system with sensor-driven tools used in the operating room – should arrive in Ann Arbor by July, says Karin Muraszko, M.D., U-M’s chair of neurosurgery.

This technology allows for smaller incisions, which leads to less recovery time and – most importantly – a better ability by surgeons to avoid important structures in the brain. BrightMatter is used to operate on brain tumors, aneurysms, vascular lesions and skull-based issues. The high-powered scope and light source may also be used in minimally invasive spine surgery.

"Multi-modality imaging makes surgery safer and faster, and improves the ability of the surgical team to work together for the best outcome," Muraszko said. "This type of technology can change our perspective to further refine and improve how we do surgery."

Cameron Piron, CEO and Co-Founder of Synaptive Medical, heralded the sale to the University of Michigan as a victory for patients.

"The doctors at the University of Michigan are among the best in the world, and now they can better care for their patients," Piron said. "As part of their new operating rooms, BrightMatter will give doctors and patients unparalleled access to the inner workings of the brain. I’m proud to be working with them to provide world-leading neurosurgical solutions to the people of Michigan."

The long, automated arm of the BrightMatter solution contains a scope and high-powered lighting that provides incredibly detailed vision to surgeons.

This arm is linked to sensors built into the surgeon’s tools to inform the surgeon as to their location within the brain at all times. Using images created during detailed pre-planning of the surgery, BrightMatter’s sensors let the doctors know if they are near critical anatomy within the patient’s brain.

U-M researchers continue to work with Synaptive in their quest to further improve the field of view in the operating room, even beyond BrightMatter.
"Some of the most promising emerging technology for brain tumor surgery is being pioneered at the U-M Health System," says U-M neurosurgeon Daniel Orringer, M.D. "We’re creating the operating room of the future, and defining the tools that will be a part of that."

The U-M Department of Neurosurgery sees about 200 patients with primary brain tumors annually.