A Major Shift in Stroke Treatment

Surgical BiplaneTrillium Health Partners has the most stroke admissions in Ontario. There are many reasons: a service area of over two million people, a rapidly growing population, and a large seniors population.

Strokes are caused by blood clots in the brain. Two million brain cells are lost every minute without blood-flow. Treating strokes and removing clots quickly is essential because ‘time is brain.’

Urgent stroke care has undergone a major shift because of the surgical biplane, which creates a 3D map of vessels in the brain to reach and treat blood clots.

“If you had certain types of strokes as little as four years ago,” says neurosurgeon Dr. Sumit Jhas, “the likely outcome would be lifelong impairment.”

“Now,” he continues, “with the surgical biplane, you could be playing softball with your kids in a short time.”

How the Surgical Biplane Works
The surgical biplane helps neurosurgeons perform an embolectomy, the fastest, least invasive clot-removal procedure. To do an embolectomy, neurosurgeons make a tiny incision at the groin or wrist and insert a catheter with a tiny stent (or cage) at the tip up into the brain to retrieve the clot and restore blood flow.

Finding a clot and getting there is the problem.

The biplane has two rotating cameras that take simultaneous images of the brain. The images combine to form a detailed 3D portrait that reveal a clot’s location and show surgeons the fastest route for the catheter—saving the brain.

Surgical Biplane Replacement
Our biplane is among the oldest in Canada and needs to be replaced. “Our biplane worked well for its time, but will come to the end of its manufacturer’s recommended lifetime by next year,” Dr. Jhas says.

“After all, no medical equipment lasts forever,” Dr. Jhas remarks. “Expecting such would be like expecting a flip-phone from 2004 to work effectively with today’s smartphones.”

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