Industry News: Revolutionary Treatment for Inoperable Brain Tumors Launches in the UK

30 Jul 2018


The Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UK, has become the first hospital in the UK to acquire the innovative new minimally-invasive Visualase technology for treatment of patients with complex and aggressive brain tumors.  This pioneering technology offers hope to the significant number of patients with deep seated/ difficult to access brain tumors who are refused surgery because conventional surgery is deemed too harmful to the surrounding healthy tissue, leading to lasting brain injury. 

Using this new equipment, neurosurgeons can target, treat and monitor in real time difficult to reach tumors by using large screen monitors which superimpose real-time MRI images of the brain tumor to ensure no healthy tissue is damaged, resulting in greater success rates. The minimally invasive procedure also reduces the risk of infection, requires shorter hospital stays (typically one day compared to five to ten days after open brain surgery), improves recovery time for patients, requires little or no hair removal and reduces scarring. 

The Visualase technology, developed by healthcare innovator Medtronic, provides advanced MRI-guided thermal laser ablation technology. Visualase delivers laser energy to target and destroy brain tumor cells by heating the unwanted tissue. Administered through robotic device ROSA, which assists neurosurgeons with surgical cranial interventions, Visualase is guided by real-time MRI images to provide precise and pinpoint laser accuracy to eradicate tumor cells without the need to undertake more invasive brain surgery. 

Visualase has recently received a CE Mark for use in the UK and The Harley Street Clinic, part of HCA Healthcare UK, will be the first hospital to treat patients using this pioneering new equipment. The Harley Street Clinic has a fully integrated adult and pediatric brain tumor service that provides world-class neurological care, housing some of the world’s most advanced neurosurgical equipment.  

Mr. Bhangoo, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Harley Street Clinic and part of London Neurosurgery Partnership says “The acquisition of Visualase at The Harley Street Clinic is a significant moment for the clinic and the treatment pathways we are able to offer our patients. This technology offers another option for patients who have exhausted all other treatment possibilities. A very significant number of brain tumor patients are refused surgery because surgery will damage surrounding tissue and Visualase is now a new alternative we can offer these patients.”

Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, Consultant Neurosurgeon at The Harley Street Clinic says. “Visualase technology brings together laser assisted brain surgery with robotics through a keyhole approach. Precision of the laser delivered under real time MRI control allows safe treatment of brain tumors in locations previously considered not possible to treat. The accuracy of robot integrated in the work flow is essential for directing the laser beam to exactly where it is needed in the brain. The minimally invasive keyhole nature of the whole process allows fast recovery from the therapy with minimal length of stay in the hospital. Visualase will benefit patients with a range of neurological and neurosurgical disorders, especially those with epilepsy or brain tumors. Here at The Harley Street Clinic, we are delighted to be the first in the UK to make this therapy available to our patients."    

Aida Yousefi, Chief Executive Officer at The Harley Street Clinic says, “HCA UK is committed to “investing in the best technology for our patients, and the arrival of the ROSA Robot and Visualase MRI-guided ablation system for minimally invasive neurosurgery s is testament to that. This game-changing technology, combined with the expertise of our world-leading surgeons, positions The Harley Street Clinic as one of the most innovative neurosurgical centers of excellence in the world.”

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