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SLU Neurosurgeon Pushes Brain Bypass To New Heights

April 16, 2011

Neurosurgery Journal Highlights the High-Flow Procedure Developed by Saleem Abdulrauf

On the cover of a recent edition of Neurosurgery, the highest circulation medical journal in the field, readers saw an artist’s intricate depiction of the high-flow brain bypass technique developed by SLU professor of neurosurgery, Saleem Abdulrauf, M.D.

Also in the March issue (Volume 63.3) of the journal, Abdulauf shared details of a surgery he performed to treat a patient’s brain aneurysm, a weak area in the wall of an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

A leader in neurosurgery innovation, Abdulrauf’s high-flow procedure means improved outcomes for patients. His technique is less invasive and keeps more blood flowing in the brain than previous surgeries.

“Saleem’s contribution to the field of neurosurgery will leave a lasting legacy,” said Philip Alderson, M.D., dean of Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “By convention, a new surgical procedure is named after the person who developed the technique. Accordingly, high blood flow brain bypass surgery might well be known as the Abdulrauf bypass.”

Abulrauf likens brain bypass to bypass surgery for the heart. When a patient has an aneurysm involving a brain blood vessel or a tumor at the base of the skull wrapping around a blood vessel, surgeons eliminate the problem vessel by replacing it with an artery from another part of the body.

Brain bypass surgery was first developed in the 1960′s in Switzerland by M. Gazi Yasargil, M.D, who is considered the father of modern neurosurgery. Used for complex aneurysms and tumors deep in the base of the skull, Abdulrauf built upon the procedure developed by his mentor, Yasargil.

Instead of replacing a problem artery with a healthy one from the scalp, as the original procedure did, Abdulrauf used an artery from the arm to allow a larger vessel to be replaced.

“With this new technique, we can treat patients in a way that minimizes recovery time and offers the best chance at keeping their brains healthy,” Abdulrauf said.

Abdulrauf also has written the first textbook on the procedure, Cerebral Revascularization: Techniques in Extracranial-to-Intracranial Bypass Surgery: Expert Consult. As one of only 10 medical centers in U.S. performing this procedure, Saint Louis University is at the forefront in educating surgeons about the procedure.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.

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