Magnetic neurosurgery

Matthew A. Howard, M. Sean Grady, Rogers C. Ritter, George T. Gillies, William C. Broaddus, Ralph G. Dacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Because of the complex shape of many brain structures, the ideal brain probe would be highly flexible and give the neurosurgeon the ability to independently and precisely control movement of the probe tip. A magnetic surgery system has been developed that implements this concept. Flexible brain probes with small permanent magnetic tips are placed on the brain surface through a small burr hole and then magnetically manipulated within the brain. Drive forces are produced by an array of six superconducting magnets suspended within a cryostatic helmet. They produce a maximum force of 3 times the threshold needed to move the probe through the parenchymal tissues at its normal speed of 1 mm/s. Computer-controlled magnetic impulses precisely direct the probe movement in any direction desired with movement accuracy of 0.47 mm in phantom gels. Probe position is monitored 3 times per second with orthogonally oriented microchannel plate X-ray systems. X-ray dose from a 3-hour simulated procedure is comparable to that of a chest X-ray. In vivo and in vitro feasibility studies have been carried out in dog and pig brains. Preclinical trials are planned for clinical applications including implantation of flexible brachytherapy threads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Oct 1996


  • Magnetic neurosurgery
  • Minimally invasive procedure
  • Remote manipulation


Dive into the research topics of 'Magnetic neurosurgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this