The FDA just approved the Penumbra Occlusion Device for minimally invasive neurosurgery, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Last week, Dr. W. Christopher Fox and Dr. Sean Lavine had a patient with a challenging arteriovenous fistula and they were able to save her life! This was also the first time this device has ever been used in the brain.
An arteriovenous fistula is a problem where an artery and vein have become abnormally connected. It is rare but if it ruptures inside the brain, it can be deadly. The treatment is surgical and it can be tricky. One vessel needs to be completely blocked off during the procedure for a safe repair.
According to Dr. Lavine, “We needed a tool to sacrifice the artery safely that would be secure. We tried a traditional tool but it wasn’t doing what we wanted. We decided to close her up and look for an alternate tool. We were excited to find one we felt would work well. It worked! After surgery, the woman cried with happiness. Her headache and buzzing in her ears were gone.”
“This patient presented with a technically challenging case,” says Dr. Fox. “The use of a new occlusion device allowed us to treat her more effectively, in a safer manner. Given the complexity of cases we see, we are pleased to be able to offer the most cutting edge technology to our patients.”
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