St. Tammany Parish Hospital and Ochsner Health System announced next steps in bringing complex neurological care to patients on the North Shore. BrightMatter™, the latest innovation in brain tumor and disease diagnoses and surgery, is now available to patients at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, as well as Ochsner Neurosciences Institute and St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington.
"In addition to investments already made in talent, technology, and facilities, the level of imaging now available to us through the BrightMatter technology is a significant benefit to our patients on the North Shore," said Sebastian Koga, MD, chairman of neurosurgery and medical director, Ochsner Neuroscience Institute, North Shore region. "The neurosciences program at Ochsner, coupled with our neurosurgery operating suite, Neuro ICU, and highly skilled team at St. Tammany Parish Hospital allows us to deliver an expanded breadth and depth of neuroscience care, locally.”
BrightMatter utilizes diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a type of MRI, to map out white matter tracts in a patient’s brain. This advanced technology automatically sends imaging information to a laptop in the physician’s office, and generates a 3-D image of the brain. This image provides highly detailed information not visible to the naked eye, giving surgeons a leading edge in developing the most effective route as part of their surgical plan. Once the surgical plan is determined, BrightMatter transfers the plan to a navigation system in the operating room where physicians can navigate their trajectory, while being aware of critical structures in real-time. The technology also augments the hospitals’ electronic health record with an informatics system called ImageDrive™, providing surgeons with a story for each patient, including all pathology, scans, and treatment in one view.
“MRI imaging is the gold standard for both diagnosis and surgical planning,” said Marcus Ware MD, senior physician, neurosurgery, Ochsner Health System. “Integrating the BrightMatter technology to enhance our imaging capabilities and mapping is extremely beneficial as we work with our patients and peers to develop the most robust and precise treatment plans. This resource not only provides support for those of us planning surgery, but for the entire care team across neurology and neurosurgery.”
This latest step, adding BrightMatter at STPH, builds upon earlier investments. Since 2015, Ochsner has hired two neurosurgeons and five neurologists dedicated to providing care to west St. Tammany patients. STPH opened a new neuroscience unit of intensive and medical/surgical care suites, and a larger operating suite, to accommodate complex neurosurgeries with the use of robotic cameras, brain navigation devices, 3D visualization, and high-field microscopes.
“Advancing the neurosciences at St. Tammany has been a major goal of our partnership with Ochsner for three years,” said Bob Capitelli, MD, STPH chief medical officer. “Significant investments in equipment, technology, and personnel have made that goal a reality. The residents of our parish no longer need to travel outside our area to receive the highest quality neurosurgical care.”