ST. LOUIS, Mo., December 22, 1998 -- A revolutionary system that uses superconducting magnets and advanced computer imaging technology to automatically navigate a catheter through the brain was tested successfully on the first patient last Thursday at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
The system, approved for use under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational Device Exemption, is being evaluated as a potentially safer, less invasive, and more effective way to biopsy brain tumors. Future applications under development include diagnosing and treating cardiovascular conditions, such as coronary artery disease and cardiac arrhythmias, and treating neurovascular conditions such as aneurysms. The system was developed by Stereotaxis, Inc., a St. Louis-based company in the field of image-guided interventional medicine.
"Our new system fulfills a growing need for more efficient, cost-effective surgical techniques," said Bevil J. Hogg, president and chief executive officer of Stereotaxis. "While our initial focus has been on neurosurgical applications, we believe this system has the potential to be used in many cardiovascular and neurovascular procedures, as well." The first patient to undergo the procedure, a 31-year-old man, was diagnosed with a tumor in the frontal lobe of the brain. In all, five patients will participate in the first clinical trial of the Magnetic Surgery System at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The Magnetic Surgery System may prove to be a significant improvement over current stereotactic surgery. Presently, surgeons visualize the location of a brain tumor through MRI imaging technology, but must manually guide surgical instruments on a straight-line path to the target location, possibly passing through and damaging vital brain tissue.
"This new system is a fundamentally new approach to guiding surgical instruments
during brain surgery," explained Dr. Ralph G. Dacey, professor and chairm
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