BrainPath Neurosurgery System

Is there hope for me?

You’ve received an unimaginable diagnosis – a brain tumor or life-threatening blood clot – and traditional brain surgery poses so many risks.

So is there hope?

Yes. At Abrazo Community Health Network’s Abrazo Central Campus, we offer patients a less-invasive surgical option using NICO BrainPath. This sophisticated tool enables our neurosurgeons to navigate between the natural folds and neural structures in the brain without cutting or damaging anything else in its path.

The result: An incision just about the size of a dime. Decreased surgical risks. The chance for a faster recovery.

We are the first in Arizona to use this state-of-the art technology and are caring for patients with previously inoperable brain conditions.

That’s hope.

How does BrainPath work?

Deep-seated brain tumors and blood clots have always posed a challenge for neurosurgeons. While they could reach the tumors, they risked damaging the surrounding tissues where nerves control body functions like movement, memory, vision, and speech.

BrainPath offers a new way forward.

First, the neurosurgeon reviews the advanced imaging to map in detail the tumor or clot in the brain, as well as the tissue and millions of white matter brain fibers surrounding it. Think of it as studying a color photo instead of one that’s just black and white.  

The imaging is combined with a precision navigation system that guides the neurosurgeon, in real time, to the tumor or blood clot. Then, the neurosurgeon enters the brain through a small opening with the BrainPath device. Its cone-shaped sheath safely pushes aside the dense and sensitive white matter tracts of neural networks and serves as a protective portal so the neurosurgeon can more easily access the tumor or clot.

Next, using high-powered optics, the neurosurgeon inserts another automated tool, the NICO Myriad, through the sheath. The device - which is about the diameter of a pencil - is used to remove only the targeted tissue without injuring nearby brain structures. Our neurosurgeons are able to reach the deepest recesses of the brain, and this advanced process may result in less blood loss and faster recovery for patients.

What’s more, a filter on the Myriad device also allows the neurosurgeon to capture sterile, intact tissue that can be studied later by clinicians and researchers.

Dr. Marco Marsella, an independent neurosurgeon* on staff at Abrazo Central Campus, is the first Arizona physician trained to use the BrainPath tool.

With this technology, we may approach tumors that were considered hard to remove or whose resection would pose a high intraoperative risk,'' Dr. Marsella said. "Benefits of this device include safer surgery, that usually provides faster recovery time, minimal internal and external scarring, less trauma to the brain and nerves, fewer side effects and complications post-surgery.

What conditions can BrainPath treat?

This revolutionary tool allows our neurosurgeons to safely reach a wide variety of previously inoperable tumors and blood clots.

They include:

  • Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most common and deadly type of malignant brain tumor
  • Other primary brain tumors and cysts
  • Metastatic brain tumors, secondary tumors that occur elsewhere in the body and migrate to the brain
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage or hemorrhagic stroke
  • Hemorrhage from traumatic brain injury

For more information on BrainPath and Abrazo Central Campus, please call 602-249-0212.

Independent Neurosurgeons on staff at Abrazo Central Campus trained to perform BrainPath include Dr. Marco Marsella

 *Please note: Only physicians who have appropriate medical staff privileges at Abrazo Central Campus may participate in this program.  These independent physicians are not employees, agents or representatives of Abrazo Central Campus and are solely responsible for the provision of their medical services to you.


A Second Chance at Life - Ed’s Inspiring Story with BrainPath

Ed spent 30 years painting houses in the Phoenix historic district. Thanks to Dr. Marco Marsella and the BrainPath surgical tool, not even a brain tumor could stop him from doing what he loves.

Click to Read Ed’s Inspiring Story