Harvard computer-aided surgery expert joins UWA

An expert in the use of computer graphics in the operating theatre will join the University of Western Australia later this year.

Ron Kikinis is the director of biomedical informatics and founding director of the surgical planning laboratory at Harvard University in the US.

Professor Kikinis will work at UWA with Karol Miller, head of the university's Intelligent Systems for Medicine Laboratory, the world's most cited laboratory working in the field of brain biomechanics.

Their work at UWA involves finding ways to better remove brain tumours by using computers to more accurately measure changes in the brain during surgery.

Professors Miller and Kikinis have co-written several papers before, and Professor Miller's work is being trialled at clinical hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School, much of it supervised by Professor Kikinis.

"Recent developments in the understanding of soft tissues – once an area neglected in favour of load-bearing tissues such as bones, ligaments, muscles and lungs – are about to revolutionise surgery and improve patient outcomes," Professor Miller said.

"Biomechanics and computer science will transform risky soft-tissue surgery such as operations to remove brain tumours.”

He said his lab's work provides a patient-specific, cost-effective, fast and sophisticated intra-operatic guide that surgeons use while they are operating.

“Thanks to our algorithms working perfectly on graphics processing units, within 10 seconds one can get an accurate picture of the complexity of deformations from a basic computer,” he said.

"This means that neurosurgeons are more likely to feel confident cutting more of the tumour out, knowing they are leaving the healthy tissue behind.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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