Innovations and Research

Through UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, our teams of internationally recognized scientists and clinicians are advancing the understanding, treatment, and prevention of neurological disorders. We’re dedicated to providing patients with an outstanding level of care today, while leading discoveries that will transform treatments for future generations.

Examples of progress being made through the O’Donnell Institute include:

Robot-assisted, Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery
ROSA computer assisted navigation technology

With the Robotized Stereotactic Assistant – aka ROSA™ – UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute has expanded its neurosurgical capabilities to treat epilepsy, brain tumors, and other cerebral disorders. We are the first in North Texas to use this computer-assisted navigation technology, which is akin to a GPS tracking system.

ROSA is an innovative, multi-application system that combines highly advanced imaging capabilities to map the brain with computer-assisted navigation and advanced robotic functions. This combination allows for effective minimally invasive brain surgery, requiring smaller surgical incisions and less time in the operating room.

Organizing data points to create road maps within the brain

ROSA takes into consideration physical information about the patient and their disorder, along with data gathered from optical, electromagnetic, and ultrasound sensors. The robot then maps the most efficient path available to access the exact point the neurosurgeon needs to reach for treatment.

Innovation improving surgical effectiveness

To assist with procedures, ROSA’s functionality includes a robotic arm, designed with very high dexterity and motion range. Using needle-size instruments, the surgeon can precisely navigate through the brain, reducing the need to impact tissue not affected by the disorder.

In addition, ROSA presents a 3-D image of the brain from all angles and depths. These images give our neurosurgeons a unique view of the brain during surgery. 

Changing options for patients with state-of-the-art technology

In the past, the only option to treat some disorders was a craniotomy, in which a bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to access the brain. The recovery time from this type of procedure could be six weeks or longer. By comparison, using the ROSA system for minimally invasive surgery reduces patient recovery time from weeks to days.

This technology can be used for biopsies of brain tumors, implantation of electrodes for functional procedures for deep brain stimulation and stimulation of the cerebral cortex, treatment of brain tumors, targeted drug delay, as well as other procedures. It’s appropriate for both adult and pediatric patients.