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A “Window to the Brain:” Transparent Skull Implants to Ease Laser Brain Surgery 

Surgery and Surgical Robotics July 27, 2016

Skull Implants

The day when surgeons can stop having to repeatedly cut open the skull to deliver life-saving laser therapy to the brain moves closer with the development of a new material for making transparent skull implants.

Researchers at the University of California – Riverside (UCR) report their progress with the new implant material in two recently published journal papers.

Their aim is to develop a biocompatible “window to the brain” whereby surgeons will be able to direct laser therapy into patients’ brains on demand, without having to perform repeated craniotomies.

Such a material could transform a risky, highly invasive operation into a less risky, minimally invasive one.

Brain surgeons use laser therapy to treat patients with life-threatening conditions such as brain cancer, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases.

The two papers report how the team – led by Guillermo Aguilar, professor of mechanical engineering at UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering – tested the implant material’s biocompatibility and ability to help manage bacterial infection.

The Window to the Brain project began when Prof. Aguilar and his team found a way to make a see-through version of yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) – the tough ceramic material that is used in hip implants and dental crowns.

This is not the first project aiming to create a window into the brain, but most other researchers are working with glass-based materials that are less impact resistant than YSZ.

Read Full Article – Source: Transparent skull implant set to ease laser brain surgery – Medical News Today

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Image credit: UC-Riverside

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