Meet ROSA, a new precision tool for seizure treatment


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Brad Lega, M.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of Neurological Surgery and Neurology

A UT Southwestern neurosurgeon is among the first in Texas to use an unconventional tool to pinpoint the source of seizures resulting from epilepsy.

Brad Lega, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery and of Neurology, is treating seizures in a minimally invasive fashion with the assistance of a Robotized Stereotactic Assistant (ROSA). The leading-edge device combines GPS-like mapping software with a robotic arm to provide accurate measurements and precise movements.

Dr. Lega performed UT Southwestern’s first ROSA procedure in July at Zale Lipshy Pavilion – William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, which is one of three hospitals in the state to use this technology and the first in North Texas to use ROSA for procedures on both children and adults.

Dr. Lega notes that most people with epilepsy are treated effectively with medication, but those whose seizures don’t respond to medication can turn to surgical options.

“Tools like ROSA help me perform brain surgery more safely,” Dr. Lega says. "I collect quality-of-life data, monitor my outcomes, and stay on top of the latest studies to inform my decisions for surgery and what’s best for my patients.”

Replicating Human Movements

In order to perform the minimally invasive operation, Dr. Lega programs coordinates into ROSA’s software, and the arm helps guide the placement of electrodes at exact points in the patient’s brain where the abnormal electric signals originate. Once pinpointed, those areas can be targeted for treatment to stop or reduce seizure activity.

ROSA’s robotic arm replicates the movements of a human arm, providing a high level of dexterity in performing complex surgical procedures. The surgeon is able to use ROSA without changing any of his or her techniques.

“The surgical field is moving at a very rapid pace,” notes Michael Choti, M.D., Chair of UT Southwestern’s Department of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief of the University Hospitals. “One area that’s particularly exciting is that of technological innovations, like robotics. But it’s not all about new toys; rather, it’s how to improve value—lowering cost, increasing quality—for patients.”

Future Applications

According to Hunt Batjer, M.D., Chair of Neurological Surgery, UT Southwestern intends to use the ROSA technology in other types of surgical procedures, including integrating the device with the stereotactic placement of laser probes used for thermal ablation of brain tumors or abnormal areas that generate seizures.

“The development of groundbreaking technology such as this is expanding our capabilities to treat complicated conditions with minimally invasive techniques,” Dr. Batjer says.

Adds Dr. Lega: “We’ve seen a revolution in our field in the last five to 10 years based on evidence of how a specific surgical procedure can impact quality of life. We can now treat brain tumors, spine disorders, epilepsy, and other conditions using technologies that expand safe, effective options for patients while also reducing recovery time.”

To refer a patient or consult with Dr. Lega, call 214-645-8300.