Breakthrough technology and a new facility opening soon on the campus of Kettering Medical Center will provide neurological patients the most advanced diagnostic, surgical, and therapeutic care, all in one convenient location.
Kettering Brain & Spine recently expanded its capabilities with the addition of Mark Hoeprich, MD, a functional neurosurgeon who utilizes brain mapping in deep brain stimulation for the advanced treatment of epilepsy, pain conditions, and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
Brain mapping is the process by which the surgeon maps the various substructures of the brain, creating a three-dimensional image to show highly specific regions of neurons that have critical functions. Then they superimpose the critical structures they normally would not be able to visualize.
“We can map out critical structures and fiber pathways which act as communication highways within the brain,” said Dr. Hoeprich. “So, as we operate, we know if we’re getting close to these structures and can see how various pathologies might be interfering with their function.”
Such precision is necessary when implanting a device called a neurostimulator. Likened to a “brain pacemaker,” the device sends electrical impulses to specific targets in the brain, treating movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease and dystonia.
Previously, some of these procedures required the patient to be awake and responsive so that the surgeon can see how they react. The new Brainlab technology features a combination of advanced hardware and software, improving the ability to map the brain before and during complex surgical procedures, eliminating the need for the patient to remain awake.
Remaining awake in surgery can be psychologically difficult for some patients. Additionally, if they have a movement disorder like Parkinson’s disease, they can shake so badly that it becomes a safety issue, in a situation where extreme precision is so important.
A robotic arm soon will be integrated into the surgical technology as well. This will allow surgeons to have sub-millimeter accuracy when placing electrodes in the brain to treat movement disorders or for monitoring epileptic patients. The robotic arm can be used to drill a tiny hole through which to place the electrodes with tremendous precision. The arm also will be used for procedures like laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), where a laser fiber is introduced into the brain to destroy a tumor, epilepsy center, or other problem tissue.
Focusing on the patient
In order to provide a more patient-centered environment and better-coordinated services between different neurological specialties, Kettering Brain & Spine offices will relocate into a pavilion across from Kettering Medical Center.
“We will have neurology, neurosurgery, pain management, and the other specialties in one centralized office to provide more consistent care and so patients have only one office to go to,” Dr. Hoeprich said. “Even the design of the facility will provide a more comfortable space.”
One example of the patient-focused environment is the lack of a waiting room. When patients come off the elevator, they will be greeted by a concierge. This employee will walk the patient through each part of their visit–from refreshments and other amenities, to checking in and settling into a private space with audiovisual materials and comfortable seating.
Neurological surgery, whether it involves the brain or spine, can be an overwhelming experience for patients. “We are making constant improvements to help reduce the patient’s stress, make the visits as easy as possible, and increase the quality of their visit. We want to put our patients at ease and to know they are in great hands” Dr. Hoeprich said. “I love the team we have here. Kettering Medical Center has put together an outstanding team of fellowship-trained specialists from the highest-level programs.”
The Kettering Brain & Spine team has the experience to treat all patients with brain-related illnesses, injuries, diseases, or disorders. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a specialist, call 1-844-211-5482 or visit ketteringhealth.org/neuro