Taipei Veterans reveals new surgery method

By Anna Chang, Special to The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH, 台北榮總) announced yesterday that it has successfully developed an intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) and functional mapping method for brain tumors and spine surgery.

The system, which was developed over the past few years, warns surgeons in certain situations, helping reduce the risk of nerve damage during surgery. TVGH noted that the IONM enables surgeons to identify and confirm nerve function and monitor the functional integrity of certain neural structures during surgery, such as cranial nerves in a patient’s head. Since cranial nerves control muscles and all movements of the face, head and neck, patients can suffer temporary or permanent damage if a nerve is irritated or injured. In some cases access to brain tumors is impossible and impedes or prohibits surgery, said Lin Jun-fu, of the neurosurgery neurological institute at the TVGH.

The hospital said that it has performed 20 brain tumor surgeries in the past two years with the new technology, which enables surgeons to completely remove tumors in these operations. Patients undergoing these surgeries have not suffered from disabling complications.

In addition to brain tumor, intraoperative neuromonitoring can also be used during epilepsy and spine tumor surgery, said Yang Cui-fen, director of the hospital’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department.