December 6, 2017 6:18 pm
Updated: December 6, 2017 9:14 pm

Brain surgery without breaking the skin a success at University of Calgary

WATCH: A new type of brain surgery to treat neurological disorders is being used in Calgary. Tony Tighe explains how it works and the potential it holds for the future.


Elias Pharaon was able to sign his name for the first time in five years after undergoing a new brain surgery in August.

The 85-year-old saw immediate results after his scalpelless surgery six months ago and is still showing signs of success.

The surgery is being performed by a team of physicians at the University of Calgary in partnership with researchers at the school’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

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It uses new technology called magnetic resonance guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS), which accesses the brain without cutting the patient’s skin or drilling into their skull.

“We are able to see the brain with real-time imaging and target a beam of high intensity ultrasound to the region responsible for tremor,” said Dr. Zelma Kiss, a neurosurgeon and professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM).

Kiss said the patient is awake throughout the entire brain procedure.

Pharaon said he didn’t feel anything during the procedure and said the tremor in his right hand was gone immediately after the surgery.

“It’s changed my life, I feel like I can go out in public again,” he said.

Essential tremor is the most common type of movement disorder and is typically treated with medication.

The CSM MRgFUS system is the only one of its kind in western Canada.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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