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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

First public hospital secures funding for non-invasive neurosurgery

Health Industry Hub | July 8, 2024 |

Gold Coast University Hospital is the first Australian public hospital to offer innovative incisionless surgery for people with disabling neurological conditions like Parkinson’s Disease.

The Miles Government has provided $3.5 million in funding for a magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS), which uses MRI to locate and treat areas of the brain that trigger symptoms of movement disorders.

The listing of the MRgFUS service was recommended by the MSAC in March 2022, and announced by the government as part of the 2023-24 Budget.

More than 1,000 ultrasound beams intersect at a single point and create tiny lesion on the brain, disrupting the abnormal brain activity and significantly reducing tremors. Patients do not require general anaesthetic and improvements can often be demonstrated in real-time, as patients are awake throughout the incisionless procedure.

As this surgery is non-invasive, there are no incisions or drill holes, which enhances recovery time, and enables patients to potentially be discharged the following day. Each patient requires a ‘halo’ to be fitted during the procedure, to keep their head still and their scalp cool.

Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women, Shannon Fentiman MP, said “This treatment is life changing for people who suffer from debilitating movement disorders. It’s incredible to see the immediate and significant reductions in tremors thanks to this new procedure and our highly skilled health heroes.

“This surgery is helping Queenslanders to regain the ability and dignity to perform daily tasks like writing and picking up a glass of water.”

Gold Coast Health Medical Director Neurology, Dr Sam Heshmat, said “At Gold Coast Health, we are proud to launch this innovative service to help patients with certain movement disorders, including tremors. To see a significant change in a patient’s functional capacity within a few hours, to see them gain back some independence after so many years, it’s just priceless.

“This service is unique as it involves a group of clinicians from different specialties. Neurologists, neurosurgeons, and our radiology colleagues all play a role within each patient’s journey. We also have a Nurse Navigator, which is a newly created position specifically for this service.”

CEO Gold Coast Hospital Foundation, Russell Ousley, stated “The Gold Coast Hospital Foundation is incredibly honoured to support another life-changing treatment for our local community with Incisionless Surgery.

“Thanks to the generosity of our incredible donors, the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation has contributed over $386,000 towards the purchase and supply of Halo Kits, essential for every patient undergoing this precision surgery. This equipment will have a profound impact on patients suffering from tremors.

“The Foundation is dedicated to supporting leading initiatives like this, it enables us to use community donations to make a positive impact that will change lives.”

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