NSHA neurosurgery is the first in Canada to use new robot for brain surgery

Dr Clarke putting robot into position
Dr Clarke putting robot into position

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Division of Neurosurgery (Department of Surgery) and Medtronic Canada ULC are delighted to announce the first- in-Canada use of Medtronic Stealth AutoGuide TM robot technology, at the QEII Health Sciences Centre.

“The Stealth AutoGuide TM is a major step forward for neurosurgery,” said Dr. David Clarke, Head of the Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health Authority. “I am pleased to report that the technology was used for the first time in Canada on a patient last week. That patient has already recovered from the surgery and is moving on to receive further care closer to home.”

The QEII Health Sciences Centre was the only North American site to perform pre-clinical trials, research that was led by Drs. Clarke, Murray Hong and David Brandman and is currently submitted for publication. In bringing this robot into clinical care, there is ongoing collaboration with a neurosurgical team in Vienna, Austria headed by Dr. Stefan Wolfsberger, who worked on an earlier version of the technology.

“Building on our collaboration with Dr. Wolfsberger’s team in Austria and working with our industry partner, Medtronic, has enabled us to be the first site in Canada to use this technology, something that will benefit patients from across Atlantic Canada,” said Dr. Clarke.

Dr. Wolfsberger has high praise for Halifax Neurosurgery: “Dr. Clarke and his team are to be congratulated for their leadership in bringing this technology into clinical use – we are happy to be partners with them.”

The Stealth AutoGuide TM will be used for various types of brain surgery that involve precisely reaching a target in the brain – this includes brain biopsies and placing electrodes in the brain for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The surgical planning of the robot-assisted procedure uses the patient’s imaging and is done on a computer before the actual surgery.

“This helps to minimize the actual surgical time and improve operating room efficiency,” said Dr. Clarke. “This robotic system will reduce operating room procedure time in many cases by 50 per cent while at the same time enhancing patient safety.”

The Stealth AutoGuide TM Platform is a robotic guidance system that allows surgeons to quickly and accurately implement surgical plans for brain surgery, requiring a minimal footprint in the operating room.

The Stealth AutoGuide TM system integrates with StealthStation™ Image-Guidance systems and the Midas Rex™ high-speed surgical drill platform, already in use at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. The navigation software optimizes the surgical workflow, providing continuous real-time patient-specific visual feedback on the robotic alignment.

The Division of Neurosurgery and Nova Scotia Health Authority recognize the increasing importance of robotic technology in health care.

“We are very fortunate to have leaders in robotic surgery here at the NSHA – today, we can see how the application of robotic technology is benefitting patients and improving health care delivery,” said Dr. David Kirkpatrick, Head of the Department of Surgery.
Dr. Clarke said that given health awareness around the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy for people to appreciate the importance of robotic tools that will help in improving the safe, efficient delivery of surgical care.


Provincial media line: 1-844-483-3344 

About Nova Scotia Health Authority
Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to Nova Scotians and a wide array of specialized services to Maritimers and Atlantic Canadians. NSHA operates hospitals, health centres and community-based programs across the province. Our team of health professionals includes employees, doctors, researchers, learners and volunteers. We work in partnership with community groups, schools, governments, foundations and auxiliaries and community health boards. Visit nshealth.ca for more. 

About the Division of Neurosurgery
Halifax Neurosurgery is committed to excellence in innovation, research and education that provide the best in patient care. Learn more about our dedicated multidisciplinary neurosurgical team and our partners at the following link: 

About Medtronic Canada ULC
Medtronic Canada ULC (www.medtronic.ca), is a subsidiary of Medtronic plc, which is one of the world's largest medical technology, services, and solutions companies — alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life for millions of people around the world. Serving physicians, hospitals, and patients across the country, Medtronic Canada ULC is headquartered in Brampton, Ontario.