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Neurointerventional Biplane

Neurointerventional Biplane at St. mary's

New Service taking St. Mary’s to the next level: Neurointerventional Biplane

St. Mary’s is adding a significant advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke, brain aneurysms, brain and neck tumors and other neurological conditions with the acquisition of a state-of-the-art neurointerventional biplane angiography system. This biplane system produces highly detailed three-dimensional views of blood vessels leading to the brain and deep within the brain.

The biplane represents a giant leap in helping physicians diagnose neurological abnormalities and then treat them with endovascular procedures, which entail the use of special instruments threaded inside the blood vessels of the brain and neck.

St. Mary’s neurointerventional biplane system will produce images simultaneously from two regions of the patient’s head, from front to back and from side to side. This reduces the amount of contrast material required, improves visualization of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and shortens the time it takes to complete a neurological angiogram.

The images produced by the biplane system aid physicians in performing neurointerventional procedures such as clot removal, aneurysm repair and the treatment of arteriovenous malformations, carotid artery blockages, brain and neck tumors, intracranial hemorrhages, spinal compression fractures and refractory epistaxis.

For many patients this procedure can replace an “open” procedure resulting in a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery time, reduced pain and less risk of complications.

The biplane is a multi-use piece of equipment and can also be utilized by our excellent Cardiologists for cardiology procedures such as angioplasty and electrophysiology.

This project will add immeasurably to the quality of life for the citizens of this area, impact lives and reduce travel time for all St. Mary’s Health Care System patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does St. Mary's believe this equipment is important to our community?

The neurointerventional biplane will expand and take our already nationally recognized stroke care program to the next level by bringing cutting edge technology to serve our patients.

St. Mary’s will be the first and only hospital with a neurointerventional biplane in our service area. Currently, there are only four neuro-biplanes in Georgia; three in Atlanta and one in Augusta. Equipment of this caliber is usually only found in Academic Centers or large metropolitan areas.

Why is St. Mary's Stroke Center recognized as the best?

St. Mary’s has been identified as one of the best stroke centers in the nation and has been advancing its stroke program since 2002, when the Rehab Center opened. St. Mary’s serves as a hub for rural hospitals in surrounding communities and has the infrastructure to support the program.

When will the equipment be in use and what does it provide?

3D image of a brain aneurysm
3D image of a brain aneurysm (shaded in blue). Dr. Woodall is able to treat aneurysms with a coil procedure or clip.

The biplane will be in use by Fall 2017 as a comprehensive initiative for Neurology and Cardiology. The neurointerventional biplane provides:

  • Faster/ better quality images
  • Simultaneous images in two directions
  • 3D modeling of the brain’s blood vessels to allow physician to see where the clot is and the path to take to retrieve it
  • Noninvasive treatment for vascular problems in the brain
  • Cardiology applications for advanced treatment and angioplasty

What impact will this new equipment have on patients?

Currently patients who would benefit from the neurointerventional biplane may be life flighted to Grady Hospital or Augusta by helicopter. There is a window of time for effective stroke care. Closer to home is better for the patient and the family.

Who is the new physician and what are his credentials?

Dr. Neil Woodall Dr. Neil Woodall will be joining the practice of Georgia Neurological Surgery (GNS) in August 2017.

Dr. Woodall has Fellowship Training in cerebrovascular and skull based surgery. He is currently completing his training at the prestigious Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) in Arizona. Dr. Woodall is from Columbus, Georgia, attended UGA and MCG. The Athens community is fortunate to have such a highly trained physician coming to practice in this service area since the BNI only trains two fellows per year.

How many stroke patients per year does St. Mary's currently see and how many would benefit from this new equipment?

This equipment purchase will touch hundreds of lives each year. Typically, St. Mary’s sees between 300 and 400 active stroke patients every year. Of those active stroke patients, 15% receive clot busting medications (tPA) to help dissolve the clot.

It is too soon to know the overall impact of this new service. Removing a clot to treat stroke was finally approved by the FDA in 2015. Many patients who may have benefitted from this treatment were unable to get it in years past. However, St. Mary’s anticipates that as many as 70 procedures could be performed in the first year.

What new initiatives will the Neurointerventional Biplane provide?

brain function before the clot is removed
The top images show brain function before the clot is removed. Notice the large area that is circled. There is no blood flow to this region of the brain due to a clot that is blocking the flow of blood. The bottom images are post-clot removal. Once the clot is removed via mechanical thrombectomy, blood can begin flowing through the affected area.

In partnership with Dr. Woodall, St. Mary’s will now be able to provide enhanced cranial services including:

  • Vascular neurosurgery
  • Treatment for brain aneurysm
  • Acute stroke care intervention (clot removal)
  • Skull based surgery
  • Opening of a clogged blood vessel in the brain

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