Dr. Steven Kalkanis: First Minimally Invasive Laser Brain Surgery in Michigan


Props to Dr. Steven Kalkanis, who performed recently, the first minimally invasive laser brain surgery ever in Michigan.

Together with his team at Henry Ford Hospital, Kalkanis performed two pioneering surgeries— one for epilepsy and one to treat a brain tumor. And in both cases the patients went home the day after the procedure.

“These types of surgeries can be as effective as conventional brain surgery for select patients and certain tumors, with much less risk and side effects to the patient,” says Steven Kalkanis, M.D., a neurosurgeon and medical director of the Center for Cancer Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital.

Conventional brain surgery typically lasts several hours, with partial skull removal and cutting through healthy brain tissue to reach the area needing treatment. After surgery, patients generally stay in the hospital for two to seven days and then are out of work for two to six weeks.

In the minimally invasive laser brain surgeries, a neurosurgeon inserts a laser filament within a thin, flexible cooling catheter into the patient’s brain through a tiny (4mm) hole in the skull, while monitoring the procedure via Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner images in real time.

The laser can deliver extremely precise energy to destroy tumors and abnormal areas of the brain that can cause epilepsy. The MRI’s special software makes it possible for the surgeon to measure the temperature in different regions of the brain, allowing the neurosurgeon to make sure the appropriate tissue is being destroyed and minimize damage to healthy tissue.


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