UAMS First in State to Use New Brain Tumor Procedure

By Nate Hinkel

The cutting-edge surgery uses a new BrainPath tube, advanced imaging of tracts in the brain and a computerized brain navigation system, which allows UAMS physicians to navigate the brain to target and suction out deep-seated brain tumors, abscesses and hemorrhages that could not be reached with as little disruption of tissue with traditional techniques. The surgery removes deeply located tumors in the brain considered difficult to safely access, such as glioblastoma multiforme (GBMs) and metastatic cancerous brain tumors.

John D. Day, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the UAMS College of Medicine, who has performed this new surgery twice at UAMS with success — once for a malignant tumor and once for an abscess — says the new port neurosurgery is a promising development in allowing brain tumor removal with a minimum of injury to normal surrounding brain tissue.

“The procedure is the closest that we can get to a precisely targeted, flawless surgery for deep brain tumors,” Day said. “We are able to get to tumors in a much safer way that will put patients at less risk of brain damage and will preserve critical brain structures and tracts.”

Along with the Brain Path device, the Myriad, a thin, tubular three-in-one device (scissors, suction and blunt dissector) designed by NICO, is used to remove hard-to-reach tumors through the narrow corridor. The device can be used on multiple procedures and does not use heat, so there is less risk to surrounding tissue.

The many benefits of the breakthrough procedure, which creates a small, dime-size channel through the brain, include a faster recovery time, minimal internal and external scarring, less trauma to the brain and nerves, and few side effects and complications post-surgery, Day said.

Day underwent extensive training in March in order to perform the surgery and says there are only about 50 neurosurgeons in the United States currently equipped to use the new devices.

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.