Innovations in neurosurgery continue to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of neurological diseases and disorders. NorthShore’s nationally renowned experienced neurosurgeons employ the latest minimally invasive techniques and surgical approaches to achieve optimal outcomes and enhanced quality of life for patients with brain and spinal conditions or injuries.
Our board-certified neurosurgeons possess a depth of experience in treating the rarest diseases to the most common neurological disorders. From cutting-edge surgical techniques to traditional “open” surgery, our neurosurgeons have the advanced training and skills necessary for developing highly individualized treatment plans that best meet each patient’s unique needs.
NorthShore’s neurosurgeons work closely with a multidisciplinary team, including neurologists, physiatrists and neuro-oncologists to ensure collaborative and coordinated patient care from pre-surgery work-up to post-surgery follow-up—and everything in-between.
GammaTile Therapy | Endovascular Neurosurgery | Visualase MRI Laser-Guided Therapy | Stereotactic Radiosurgery | Deep Brain Stimulation | Intrathecal Baclofen Pumps | NICO BrainPath 6 Pillar | Conscious Surgery
Surgical intervention for disorders of the brain and spine relies not only on the latest technology but also the skills of highly trained neurosurgeons for optimal patient outcomes. At NorthShore, you can be assured that we have both superior tools and outstanding talent available throughout our multi-hospital system.
Here are just some of our innovative surgical options for a variety of neurological diseases and conditions:
GammaTile Therapy: Surgically Targeted Radiation
NorthShore is the first in the state to offer a new innovative Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT)—GammaTile Therapy—performed by our skilled and experienced neurosurgeons. Aggressive brain tumors can recur—or regrow—despite successful surgery and other standard of care cancer therapies. GammaTile Therapy is a new approach to treating malignant brain tumors, and is the first radiation therapy specifically designed for use inside the brain to immediately target areas most at risk for recurrence.
Smaller than a postage stamp (2cm x 2cm), the GammaTile is a 3D-collagen tile embedded with Cesium-131 radiation. Once a tumor has been surgically removed, the neurosurgeon places the GammaTile at the tumor site where it instantaneously begins delivering a targeted dose of radiation to any remaining tumor cells. The radiation destroys any remaining cancer cells while limiting the impact on healthy brain tissue. The therapy adds just five to 10 minutes to surgery time, and the body absorbs the tile within two months, eliminating the need to be surgically removed.
GammaTile Therapy’s unique design offers several advantages to patients undergoing surgery for brain tumors:
- Significantly improves remission time compared to traditional radiation therapy
- Fewer side effects typically associated with radiation treatment, including hair loss
- Zero lag time between surgical wound healing and the beginning of radiation therapy
- Eliminates hospital or clinic visits for radiation therapy no longer necessary, allowing you to go about your daily life
This new FDA-approved therapy offered only at NorthShore shows great promise for prolonging life as well as improving quality of life. Research has shown that surgery plus GammaTile Therapy can extend overall survival without local tumor recurrence for about 10 months on average.
Minimally invasive surgery offers smaller incisions, less pain, faster recovery and another viable option for patients who may not be good candidates for open surgical procedures due to age or health reasons. Treating neurological conditions from within blood vessels to the brain, endovascular neurosurgery is a modern surgical method that provides an alternative to traditional surgery. At NorthShore, our experts are skilled at advanced endovascular neurosurgical procedures that require specialized training not found in every hospital.
Inserting a catheter via a small incision near the groin and using advanced imaging technology to guide it through blood vessels, our endovascular specialists can perform a number of leading-edge minimally invasive techniques. For the treatment of ischemic stroke, our highly specialized neurosurgeons use the latest tools, including Solitaire FR, an FDA-approved clot removal device to restore blood flow as well as a variety of cutting-edge balloons and retrievable stents to widen narrowed arteries. They also have extensive experience with endovascular coiling, a less invasive procedure for the treatment of brain aneurysms. The technique involves guiding special coils up through the catheter into the ruptured artery to disrupt blood flow. Blood begins clotting around the coils, which then prevents further bleeding.
Visualase MRI Laser-Guided Therapy
Neurological Institute neurosurgeons routinely use Visualase, an advanced laser thermal ablation technique. A minimally invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided technique, it is used for surgically treating patients with brain tumors and other conditions such as epilepsy. NorthShore neurosurgeons have been specially trained in the stereotactic neurosurgical procedure that involves inserting a thin laser fiber into the skull to precisely target areas of the brain. Light energy from the laser heats the brain tumor or damaged tissue, effectively destroying it. Upon removal of the laser applicator, only one stitch is needed to close the wound.
Stereotactic radiosurgery expands the depth and breadth of treatment options our practitioners can offer to patients to treat hard-to-reach areas of the brain. This technology allows our neurosurgical experts to team with radiation oncologists and other health professionals at NorthShore to precisely target various tumors and other conditions of the brain and spine with highly potent doses of radiation. This minimally invasive outpatient technique preserves surrounding healthy tissue while killing tumor cells. Reducing and/or eliminating both benign and malignant tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery offers patients excellent treatment results—especially when conventional surgery is not an option.
As part of our commitment to state-of-the-art care, NorthShore has invested in the latest stereotactic radiosurgery technology on the market. Among its features are increased precision for zeroing in on tumors, frameless fractionated radiosurgery treatment for enhanced comfort and shorter treatment times that improve the patient experience.
Please visit our Stereotactic radiosurgery page to learn more about this advanced surgical option.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Some Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients are unable to obtain sufficient relief through medications or physical measures. For these individuals, sophisticated brain surgery techniques, including deep brain stimulation (DBS), can provide significant benefits. DBS involves the implantation of electrodes in the brain that electrically stimulate target areas. After undergoing DBS, most patients can reduce their medications by 50 percent or more and see long-lasting improvements in their PD symptoms.
The Neurological Institute’s experienced DBS team features neurologists, neurosurgeons and neurophysiologists. Specializing in the care of Parkinson’s disease patients, the team has treated several hundred patients with this advanced surgical procedure since the mid-1990s.
Intrathecal Baclofen Pumps
NorthShore offers severe spasticity management for patients with multiple sclerosis. The Neurological Institute’s baclofen pump program helps patients achieve maximum functionality and improve their comfort with an implanted intrathecal baclofen pump. The program includes clinical evaluation, a baclofen screening test, pump implantation by a neurosurgery specialist, and long-term titration and management.
NICO Brain Path 6 Pillar
NorthShore offers a minimally invasive surgical technique that provides new hope to brain cancer patients with tumors that used to be considered inoperable. The NICO 6 pillar approach is a safe, effective surgical solution for removing tumors, blood clots and other growths located deep within the brain -- all through an opening smaller than a dime. It is uniquely designed to minimize the risk of damage to areas of the brain that control speech, memory, vision and other functions. It may also reduce length of hospital stay.
This advanced technology integrates the following 6 pillars: brain mapping, navigation technology, access, high definition optics, removal and targeted therapy. Before surgery, the neurosurgeon studies the white matter tracts of the brain to plan the safest route to access the growth. High definition optics and a GPS-like navigation system guide the BrainPath technology helping surgeons move through the natural folds of the brain to safely remove hard to reach tumors.
NorthShore is the first health system in Illinois—and one of just a handful nationally—to implement an advanced surgical optics and robotic guide system that enhances minimally invasive brain surgery capabilities.
Conscious surgery is distinct from awake surgery in that patients are able to think and converse throughout the whole procedure rather than being unconscious (sedated) at the start and the end of the procedure as is the case with traditional “awake surgery.” During traditional awake-asleep-awake (AAA) surgery it can be difficult to maintain the patient at a level of consciousness that is needed to monitor critical thought and cognitive function.
By keeping our patients conscious and minimizing sedation, and by engaging their loved ones in the operating room or an OR-gallery experience, we interact with patients and closely monitor their cognition, memory, thoughts and emotions, the very things that make us individuals and determine our quality of life. Without being conscious, there is no other way to monitor these higher order functions that make us each the individuals we are.
Learn more about conscious surgery ›