Singapore Offers World's First Integrated Neuroscience Center

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Singapore's largest healthcare group, SingHealth, has brought the world's first integrated neuroscience center to the region. Singapore becomes the only place in the world with the full complement of intra-operative options.

Singapore Medicine

This new center represents a quantum leap in neurosurgical care, by providing state-of-the-art facilities, pre-operative planning capabilities, and advance patient education

Singapore's largest healthcare group, SingHealth, has brought the world's first integrated neuroscience center or "brain lab" to the region - a move that serves to anchor the tiny nation-state as one of the world's leading neurological centers for patient care, education and research.

The cutting edge, digitally-integrated facility was designed by BrainLAB AG and is located at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH), one of Asia's top teaching hospitals.

Driven by neuroscience expertise from the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI), this facility helps set a new standard for medical treatments for a whole spectrum of neurological diseases including brain tumors and spinal problems.

"This new center represents a quantum leap in neurosurgical care, by providing state-of-the-art facilities, pre-operative planning capabilities, and advance patient education," says Associate Professor Ivan Ng, who heads the Neurosurgery departments at both SGH & NNI.

For the first time, a center offers a comprehensive range of treatment options with various cutting edge, intra-operating imaging solutions for highly complex surgical procedures in one location.

From diagnostics, planning through treatment, this new infrastructure provides clinicians with timely information and fine tune pre-treatment planning, resulting in better-informed medical decisions, and the ability to seamlessly combine multiple treatments.

Its facilities include five operating suites, three of which deliver integrated intra-operative imaging capabilities.

"With its high-field MRI, multi-slice CT scanner, and 3D imaging software, the facility allows surgeons to look at precise images of a patient's brain before, during and right after surgery. This seamless transfer of all neurologically relevant images lets us decide how best to leverage the optimal intra-operative imaging modalities for a specific problem are required to achieve a treatment objective with minimal complications," says A/P Ng.

To date, only a handful of countries have intra-operative MRI facilities: Boston in the US and Toronto in Canada, as well as Germany and Japan. But Singapore remains the only place in the world with the full complement of intra-operative options.

According to A/P Ng, the US$8.5 million facility will make brain surgeries safer.

"With this facility, doctors will be able to perform more minimally invasive procedures with greater confidence. The ability to scan on the spot allows us to appraise the situation as we proceed. Also, it lets us do more complete resections of tumors, which cuts down on the need for repeat surgeries," says A/P Ng.

He adds that about 30 percent of the center's patients so far are international patients.

Leveraging new technologies, the facility will also have a strong impact on other clinical specialties beyond neuroscience, such as cancer, and at the same time provide opportunities for research and medical education.

All these will give Singapore's position as a premier medical hub a boost.

About National Neuroscience Institute
The National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) is the leading regional specialist center for cutting edge treatment, education and research in the neurosciences. It offers over 20 clinical subspecialties and treats a broad range of illnesses affecting the brain, spine, nerve and muscle. The NNI sees the most number of neurological cases in Singapore.

About the SingaporeMedicine Initiative
Launched in 2003, SingaporeMedicine is a multi-agency government-industry partnership committed to strengthening Singapore's position as Asia's leading medical hub and international health care destination. Led by the Ministry of Health of Singapore, SingaporeMedicine is supported by three government agencies: the Economic Development Board, which develops industry capabilities, the International Enterprise Singapore, which fosters regionalism by Singapore-based health care players, and the Singapore Tourism Board, which markets Singapore as a healthcare destination to inbound international patients and develops associated people-oriented services.

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