UAMS First in State with Advanced Brain Surgery Planning System

By ChaseYavondaC

The software helps brain surgeons protect important parts of the brain that control functions like the senses, movement, language and memory through planning and interaction with compatible real-time navigation systems during surgery.

As a result, surgeons may be able to operate on tumors in parts of the brain previously considered inoperable, while still preserving important functions, maximizing the amount of tumor removed, and minimizing hospital length of stay.

“This type of planning technology is known as tractography, which uses 3D modeling of MRI scans and computer-based diffusion tensor imaging to help the surgeon visualize the complex network of nerve tracts and critical structures of the brain,” said J.D. Day, M.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the College of Medicine.

“It is complementary to our existing systems for the most ‘brain saving’ approach. From radiology, to planning, to every cut — we’re confident we offer the most accurate surgeries available with existing technologies,” Day said.

UAMS’ Department of Neurosurgery is also the first academic medical center program in the nation to receive the latest edition of the software, which UAMS surgeons began using in September.

The system is used primarily by Day and Director of Neurosurgical Oncology Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D. Day and Rodriguez see patients in the Neurosurgery Clinic at UAMS.

“By investing in the latest technology, our ultimate goal is to open new avenues and give our patients hope,” Rodriguez said. “In addition, advanced tractography has been shown to improve patient outcomes like length of stay and maximum tumor resection, which — especially for aggressive brain cancers like glioblastomas — correlates long-term with longer survival times.”

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.