Neurosurgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center Perform Hospital’s First Endoscopic-Assisted Corpus Callosotomy Surgery   

Neurosurgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center Perform Hospital’s First Endoscopic-Assisted Corpus Callosotomy Surgery

Procedure performed for the first time at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health

Hackensack University Medical Center’s Luke Tomycz, M.D., neurosurgeon, and Robert R. Goodman, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon and professor of Neurosurgery at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, performed the first endoscopic-assisted corpus callosotomy surgery done at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital to treat a nine-year-old patient with epilepsy. Corpus callosotomy is a neurosurgical procedure that involves cutting a band of fibers in the brain called the corpus callosum, which carries messages between the brain's two hemispheres (halves). Cutting the fibers prevents seizure signals from traveling between the brain’s two halves, making seizures less frequent and severe — and, in some cases, stopping them altogether.

Neurosurgeons at Hackensack University Medical Center have been at the forefront of pioneering innovations in pediatric epilepsy treatment. From the study of the use of nasal sprays as rescue seizure medication to the implantation of the first responsive neurostimulation (RNS) device in a patient to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, researchers and physicians are working to provide patients and their families with cutting-edge treatment options as they work to find curative treatment for the neurological disease.

Traditional corpus callosotomy procedures involve removing a large piece of the skull and peeling back the dura — the membrane that protects the brain — during a craniotomy procedure. After the corpus callosotomy is complete, the dura and skull are replaced, and the skull bone is secured with small titanium plates. During the patient’s endoscopic-assisted corpus callosotomy, Dr. Tomycz used a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at the tip. 

“While corpus callosotomy is the oldest surgical procedure to treat medically-refractory epilepsy (MRE), the use of an endoscope during the procedure allows for improved visualization, smaller incision, and smaller craniotomy,” said Dr. Tomycz.

The abnormal electrical activity that occurs with epilepsy results in recurrent seizures that can range in severity and frequency. Although medications may effectively control seizures in some people, they do not work for everyone and may cause side effects. More than one-third of people with epilepsy have “drug-resistant” seizures that do not respond to medication and surgical treatments should be considered.

Before her surgery, the nine-year-old patient, who traveled from Kansas to New Jersey with her family to have the surgery, had up to 20 generalized seizures a day, occurring on both sides of her brain. After surgery, the patient’s seizure frequency has been reduced by more than half.

“Our team offers the latest treatment options for epilepsy, including clinical trials, medications, and advanced surgical options,” said Judy Aschner, M.D., physician-in-chief for Pediatrics at Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health and professor of Pediatrics at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital has the only pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in New Jersey, making it a place of hope, comfort, compassion and expert care for children and families from across the region who are managing complex, rare, or drug-resistant epilepsy syndromes.”

“Dr. Tomycz and our team of neurosurgeons and epileptologists are raising the bar on surgical and nonsurgical epilepsy treatment,” said Mark Sparta, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center. “Through their innovative research and groundbreaking treatments, our team is improving quality of life for children and families affected by seizure disorders.”

“This is another great example of a physician pushing the scientific envelope with their expertise and skill, to benefit a patient in need,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., President, Academics and Research Innovation for Hackensack Meridian Health and professor of Urology at Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

Learn more about neurological innovations happening at Hackensack University Medical Center.

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