Gold Coast Private gives neurosurgeons new capabilities

A father-of-seven with a brain aneurysm is the first in Queensland to benefit from new technology that allows neurosurgeons to see 'around corners’ of arteries, nerves and brain tissue.

The Zeiss Kinevo 900 at Gold Coast Private Hospital - first in Queensland and one of only five in the Southern Hemisphere - combines microscope and endoscope to eliminate 'blind spots', giving surgeons new visualisation capabilities.

Gold Coast Private neurosurgeon, Dr Lee Yang, said the technology made brain surgery safer.

“Without this technology, we are limited to a straight line of sight which means we miss critical information behind tissues and corners,” he said.

“I call this new microscope my 'million-dollar baby'. It comes fully-equipped with a wide-lens endoscope allowing me to see things I could never see before.

"It can be used to see around an artery, nerve, brain tissue or anything.

“The endoscope gives me a 100-degree view of the anatomical detail – a giant revolutionary step forward when compared with any other surgical microscopes today."

The new generation, fully-equipped microscope purchased by Gold Coast Private Hospital also provides information about the volume and speed of blood flow in the brain, significantly reducing the risk of stroke during brain aneurysm and brain bypass surgery.

“It’s the most advanced piece of equipment I’ve ever had the benefit of working with," said Dr Yang.

"It makes complex brain surgery easier for me and safer for the patient and will save countless lives.”

Dr Yang first used the groundbreaking technology in Queensland on 46-year-old Shaun Draman to clip a brain aneurysm and prevent it from rupturing.

The father-of-seven had surgery at Gold Coast Private in January and is thrilled with the outcome.

“I don’t feel any different – which is a great result. I know that sounds counterintuitive because usually you want to come out of a surgery feeling better, but for me, feeling the same in terms of brain function and memory is what I was hoping for,” he said.

“The difference is I no longer live with the anxiety of knowing there’s a ticking time bomb in my head. You always think it’s going to go off – which happened to my sister.

“That worry has been removed and I can really enjoy life again.”

Mr Draman, who spent one night in Gold Coast Private's intensive care unit and eight days on the ward, said while brain surgery sounds scary, Dr Yang went above and beyond to make the process manageable for him and his family.

“Dr Yang was brilliant at explaining everything and so accommodating to our needs," he said.

"We knew Gold Coast Private had this wonderful microscope technology and we felt really reassured that we were in good hands.

“He was able to completely pre-plan the surgery – like a flight simulator but for a surgical mission.

"He knew where to go and what angle to come from to clip the aneurysm so the blood can’t get in there to rupture it.

“All the nursing staff were absolutely amazing as well, and they spoke really highly of Dr Yang – which is not only a sign of a good surgeon, but a good human being too. They highly respected him as a doctor and as a person – and so do we.”

Dr Yang said the new microscope's visualisation capabilities enabled him to check the tip of the aneurysm clip to ensure it didn’t catch any important brain structures - an advantage of the new generation microscope that is available to only a few neurosurgeons in the country.

“Without this capability, it’s almost impossible to check the tip of the aneurysm clip in difficult cases, so ultimately we are just hoping it’s sitting in the right place so it doesn’t cause any damage,” he said.

“Another breakthrough with this technology is the new digital visualisation modalities that allows me to see the blood flow inside the artery once I have secured the aneurysm to ensure the clip is not compromising it.

“Having this tool significantly reduces the risk of stroke in brain aneurysm and brain bypass surgery because I can check in real-time fashion and make prompt adjustments, if needed, before we finish the surgery."

The new fully-equipped microscope will also be used for precision brain tumour surgery and plastics reconstruction surgery. It is just one of many substantial investments made by Gold Coast Private Hospital to ensure doctors and patients have access to the latest technology – particularly in neurosurgery and plastic surgery.

The Healthscope owned and operated facility opened in 2016 and is co-located with the Gold Coast University Hospital off Parklands Drive in Southport.