Developed by neurosurgeon Christopher Ames, MD, co-director of neurospinal disorders and director of the Spinal Biomechanics and Spinal Neuronavigation Laboratory at UCSF Medical Center, the surgery uses standard and innovative devices to first remove and then reconstruct portions of the cervical spine in order to access tumours. Once the bone is removed, surgeons have a direct line of sight to the tumour and are able to remove it in its entirety without having to move or manipulate the spinal cord.

After the tumour is removed, surgeons immediately rebuild the spine with artificial pedicle screws, a reconstruction technique also developed by Ames. The technique is particularly useful in cases in which the tumour is located in the middle of the spinal canal and attached to the lining of the spine. These types of tumours include meningiomas, neurofibromas and exophytic astrocytomas.

"We are treating patients with this technique who were told by physicians that nothing more could be done," said Ames. "The next step is to train other surgeons in the technique so it is accessible to patients throughout the country."; Source: University of California - San Francisco