Pacific Brain & Spine Neurosurgeons First in Northern California to be Trained in Today’s Most Advanced Treatment for Brain & Spine Conditions

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For the first time neurosurgeons can remove deep seated brain tumors previously considered inoperable, bring great hope to patients in need.

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BrightMatter is pushing the frontiers of neuroscience.

Lawrence Dickinson, MD, Jeffrey Randall, MD, and Ronnie Mimran, MD, top Bay Area neurosurgical specialists at Pacific Brain & Spine Medical Group are the first in Northern California to be trained in the BrightMatter™ Neurosurgical Robotic System.

BrightMatter technology gives neurosurgeons unprecedented planning, navigation and visualization capabilities for performing the safest, least invasive surgeries for patients with brain and spine conditions.

“BrightMatter is pushing the frontiers of neuroscience,” Dr. Dickinson said.

BrightMatter for the Brain

In previous years, removing a deep-seated tumor located within or near white matter tracts of the brain posed a serious risk that could compromise a patient’s motor functions, speech, vision or memory. In many cases the surgeon would choose not to operate and refer the patient for radiation or laser ablation to shrink or remove the tumor.

A deep seated tumor would also require a large opening in the patient’s skull, with a high risk of significant trauma to surrounding tissue to reach it. Prolonged patient recovery of three to five days in the ICU, followed by a lengthy stay at a rehabilitation hospital for some patients was not uncommon.

By using the BrightMatter system, Dr. Dickinson can plan the safest route to reach the tumor and avoid damaging vital motor functions along the way. Prior to surgery, he creates a 3D model from MRI scans that represent neural tracts, determines the optimal route and then imports the plan into BrightMatter’s optical navigation system which guides him during the actual procedure.

“In the past it would take a neuroradiologist six to 10 hours to create a map of the neural pathways surrounding the tumor to be removed,” Dr. Dickinson said. “With BrightMatter we can create precision mapping and integrate it with the navigation system in minutes.”

During surgery Dr. Dickinson uses the BrightMatter Robotic Arm, a precise optical video microscope that allows him to view images of the brain in high definition, without having to look into a surgical microscope. Together he and his surgical team are fully engaged by viewing the brain images on a 55-inch monitor.

BrightMatter works hand in hand with BrainPath, a tubular retractor that allows Dr. Dickinson to use a much smaller opening, both in the skull and brain, keeping surrounding brain tissue intact while he removes the tumor through a small port. If necessary, he can resection a larger tumor underneath the surface of the brain through this small opening.

“Now, depending on the size and the location of the tumor, patients can look forward to a much shorter operation and potentially shorter stay in the ICU,” Dr. Dickinson added. “They can expect to return home a few days after surgery.”

BrightMatter for the Spine

Dr. Randall and Dr. Mimran use BrightMatter’s robotic visualization system to perform surgery for a range of spine conditions. With automatic positioning of a camera on the robotic arm, the surgeons have a clear, unobstructed view of the surgical field. Both surgeons and their teams are able to see extraordinary detail during surgery with the high definition optics displayed on the large monitor.

BrightMatter’s powerful optics has also dramatically reduced the number of dura tears and cerebrospinal fluid leaks that can occur during spinal surgery. Improved visualization of the surgical field, a fully engage clinical staff and surgeons being able to perform spine procedures with greater ease has led to better outcomes for patients and greater efficiencies for the practice’s spine surgeons.

For more information about the BrightMatter system or questions about treatments for brain and spine diseases contact Pacific Brain & Spine Medical Group at 925-884-2360 or visit

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Shelly Gordon
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