Mater surgeons partner with ROSA the robot in Australian first

23/Feb/2016     HealthNeurosurgery

Mater surgeons have successfully performed Australia's first surgery using the ROSA robot, giving new hope to people with epilepsy.

Mater Neurosurgeon Dr Jason Papacostas said thousands of Queenslanders suffer from epilepsy; a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. 

“Epilepsy affects up to 90,000 Queensland families, many of whom do not respond to medical treatment and therefore surgery is their best option.   

ROSA, a Robotized Surgical Assistant, represents a new milestone for neurosurgeons and their patients, halving surgery time and offering increased efficiency, security and flexibility. 

“Procedures using ROSA typically take one and a half to two hours, in comparison to six hours with a frame-based approach. In our first surgery with ROSA we inserted 13 electrodes deep within the brain in just under two hours, whereas in the past that would take four or so hours,” said Dr Papacostas.

Patient Dean Parkin was the first in Australia to undergo surgery on Tuesday with ROSA’s assistance. 

Clinical Nurse Consultant in Epilepsy Peter Jones said Mr Parkin’s life has been stolen by epilepsy.  

“Dean has been unable to work, he has been unable to stay in employment, he has been unable to go out and socialise and spend time with his young family.

“It’s possible that this could offer Dean a cure - that is what we are hoping for and what we look to offer our patients,” said Mr Jones.

Epileptologist Dr Sasha Dionisio said that for the first time, patients with refractory epilepsy can undergo the Stereo EEG procedure in Queensland. 

Mater’s Centre for Neurosciences is one of only three teams in Australia who perform Stereo EEG procedures in the country, and the only hospital in Australia with ROSA robotic assistant technology.”

The ROSA robotic system is used in the accurate drilling of holes for electrode placement for Stereo EEG procedures.

The surgical planning is performed by inputting the desired implantation trajectories on preoperative 3D MR acquisitions using ROSA’s dedicated software. 

The ROSA system is brought into the operating theatre and registration is performed, before the robot automatically positions an instrument on the pre-planned trajectory. The surgeon can then drill his surgical access point and implant the depth electrodes into the brain tissue through the instrument holder. 

Mater Neurophysiology Scientist Annett Koenig explains that once the electrodes are in place, the patient’s seizures are monitored.

“Mater’s purpose built epilepsy monitoring unit uses the latest equipment to monitor and analyse brain activity and body movement during a seizure.

“The Mater Centre for Neurosciences team will then identify if the patient is a potential candidate for brain surgery, in order to control seizures.”

The robot is another innovation in the advanced surgery for epilepsy offering at Mater Centre for Neurosciences. The Mater centre provides an advanced epilepsy service using state-of-the-art equipment to provide a full range of epilepsy care; ensuring patients receive the best treatment for their needs.

Mater Centre for Neurosciences
Queensland’s only Neuroscience Centre of Excellence, providing specialised care through the integration of health education and research. With the philanthropic support of Mater Foundation, Mater Centre for Neurosciences proudly provides not-for-profit care for insured, self-funded and uninsured patients and families. To find out more see

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