New brain surgery technique at Cardiff University

Welsh surgeons are learning a new surgical technique that will allow them to access the base of a brain through the eye socket, reducing scarring and recovery time of patients who otherwise may have needed open brain surgery.

The training seminars, in association with the Welsh Institute of Minimal Access Therapy at Cardiff University, are being run by Kris Moe, Professor of ear, nose and throat surgery at the University of Washington, who pioneered the intricate procedure.

Cardiff University say their skull base surgery team plan to introduce the minimally invasive technique in Wales and be the first to deliver it in the UK. Known as TONES (transorbital neuroendoscopic surgery) the technique involves making a small incision behind or through the eyelid. A tiny hole is then made through the paper-thin bone of the eye socket to reach the brain. This pathway allows surgeons to carry out operations such as cranial base fracture repairs and removal of tumours without moving the brain. It also protects the optic nerves, the nerves for smell and the carotid and ophthalmic arteries.

Caroline Hayhurst, Consultant Neurosurgeon at the University Hospital of Wales and course organiser, said “Surgery to the base of the brain is an extremely complex procedure even for neurosurgery. Professor Kris Moe is a world renowned surgeon who has pioneered a technique that changes the way we access the brain, improving patient recovery. It is a great honour to have him assist us in developing a state of the art service for Wales with this revolutionary procedure.”

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