Skull Base Navigation System
Successful neurosurgery to remove tumours around the base of the skull depends on achieving maximal tumour removal whilst preserving crucial functions such as facial movement. One of the most common tumours encountered in skull base surgery is the vestibular schwannoma – a non-cancerous tumour arising from a nerve connecting the brain and inner ear, and around 300 patients undergo vestibular schwannoma surgery every year in the UK.
Despite using current modern surgical techniques, it is often very difficult to see the facial nerve during surgery and to determine how much tumour remains attached to the facial nerve. As this is poorly visualised, the risk of nerve injury increases, leading to side effects where facial muscles droop or become weak, significantly influencing patient quality of life.
The purpose of this project is to develop a three-dimensional surgical navigation system to combine images from different scans to help surgeons visualise the area in much greater detail and make skull base surgery safer and more effective (removing as much tumour as possible whilst avoiding nerve damage).
The integrated navigation system will combine magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and facial nerve with ultrasound images taken during the operation.