Advancements on a revolutionary method used in brain bypass surgery could soon involve physicians from Linz.
Developed at the University of Ütrecht in the Netherlands, the so-called ELANA technique allows for significantly faster procedures with much lower patient risk. Univ. Prof. Dr. Albert van der Zwa heads the chair for Neuro-Surgery in Ütrecht and from the beginning, he has been a part of developing the “Excimer Laser Assisted Non-Occlusive Anastomosis” (abbrev: ELANA). The method has many advantages, including cutting the opening required for the bypass by laser instead of making a surgical cut.
The method has been tested in the Netherlands since the 90s, placing “high flow bypasses” in deep, surgically difficult areas of the brain. Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Gruber, head of the JKU’s University Clinic for Neurosurgery at the Kepler University Hospital remarked, “Because the technique invented in Ütrecht is complex, these kinds of procedures can only be carried out at a few centers in Europe but in high numbers and with successful outcomes.”
Prof. Dr. van der Zwan was invited to Linz introduce the procedure and planned improvements: by using SELANA (the S stands for Sutureless), the vessels deep within the brain no longer need to be sutured but can be mechanically clipped instead, helping to avoid any potential bypass failures.
Educational Focus with Participants from Linz
Univ. Prof. Gruber added, “Thanks to impressive advancements in therapy, the number of aneurysm patients requiring highly complex treatment will not continue to rise at any significant rate.” He considers an educational focal point on the procedure that includes participants from Linz to be an advantage, not only in the interest of scientific and clinical advancements, but also to solidify Upper Austria as a location of groundbreaking medical research.
Potential Use in Cardiac Surgery
The university clinic board chairman remarked that the method could potentially be extended medium-term to another area: “By reducing the size of the SELANA device, we could potentially use it for heart bypass surgery as well.”