NICO Featured: New Device Eases Brain Tumor Removal

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INDIANAPOLIS -A new technique is giving brain tumor patients a better chance at survival.

Ray Motluck is grateful to be back behind the wheel after a seizure while driving last year led to a scan of his brain.

“They said you have a tumor,” said Motluck, who is 67.

He went to see Dr. Ron Young, a St. Vincent neurosurgeon.

“The problem with this tumor is where it’s located,” said Dr. Young. “Right behind it is the part of his brain that moves his left side. Most of these we could get to before but with giving people problems afterwards.”

“The only scary part of it was facing the loss of some function, primarily on my left side,” said Motluck.

But Young opted to use new technology, the NICO Brainpath, which allows him to part the brain and place a tube that creates a path to the problem area.

“Before there was always this idea of, ‘Okay, I have to cut through normal tissue to get to the tumor.’ Now I am just moving it out of the way and letting it come together once I am done,” said Dr. Young.

He uses the brain’s pressure to pull the tumor out. He likens it to drilling for oil.

“We are doing the same thing with the tumor letting the pressure of the brain bring the tumor to me as I’m working,” he explained.

Now, after the surgery, Ray Motluck has to search for the entry point in his skull and feels great.

“I am fully functional; 100 percent. I can’t tell any loss of functionality,” he said. All of his tumor is gone.

“He’s had no evidence of recurrence of the tumor. He’s happy. We could not have done better,” said Young.

Ray celebrates by fishing, but this weekend that’s on hold because he could become a grandfather any minute.

“They are expecting this weekend or Monday. It’s certainly a big deal and I wanted to be around for that,” he said. “I do feel fortunate.”

The technology has origins back to Rose-Hulman and was developed by an Indianapolis company. It was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Young has now used the NICO Brainpath in 22 cases. Ideal candidates are patients with tumors or hemorrhages or cysts in the brain.