CHU Sainte-Justine
Monday, December 12 2016
Press release

The CHU Sainte-Justine performs first-ever laser surgery in a patient with epilepsy

A Canadian First!

Montréal, December 12, 2016 – Dr. Alexander Weil, neurosurgeon at the CHU Sainte-Justine, recently used a neurosurgical laser to treat a child with epilepsy for the first time in Canada. Using this revolutionary new technology is a first not only in Canadian pediatrics, but is also ground-breaking in the treatment of epilepsy.

This minimally invasive brain surgery (a 4mm incision, with no need for the patient’s head to be shaved) did not require an admission to intensive care and allowed the patient to be discharged from the hospital after 24 hours, in contrast to the average one-week stay common with conventional surgery. “The surgery went completely according to plan. Our patient is doing very well, and was able to go home quickly and return to normal activities.

We’re very proud of how it went,” stated Dr. Weil, who trained in this surgical technique while completing his fellowship at the University of Miami. “Thanks to the level of precision that this technique allows, and our ability to observe the treatment in real-time via magnetic resonance imaging, this new technology lets us offer a less invasive and safer alternative, especially for those patients who cannot undergo conventional surgery or who might suffer damage to healthy areas surrounding a tumour or an epileptic lesion. Waiting times are also reduced considerably, because the patient does not need to be admitted to intensive care and extended hospitalization can be avoided,” he added.

Patients who can benefit from this innovative technology include children suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy as well as those with tumours located in areas of the brain that are difficult to reach using conventional surgery.

Philanthropy makes the impossible, possible

This revolutionary equipment was acquired thanks to the support of generous philanthropic partners. The CHU Sainte-Justine received $600,000 in funding from one of its Foundation’s most loyal supporters, Kurling for Kids. This fundraising activity, led by founder Robert Sears and his organizing committee, brings together 11 curling clubs and 700 volunteers across the province, and has raised $2 million for sick children in Quebec over its 18-year history. Mr. Sears has in the past credited Sainte-Justine with saving his daughter’s life, but it is the hospital which today owes him a debt of gratitude, along with Kurling for Kids, for their incredible philanthropic support which allows us to save more lives through the use of this ground-breaking new technology.

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About CHU Sainte-Justine

The Sainte-Justine university hospital centre (CHU Sainte-Justine) is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and the second largest pediatric hospital in North America. A member of the Université de Montréal extended network of excellence in health (RUIS), Sainte-Justine has 5,560 employees, including 1,548 nurses and nursing assistants; 1,117 other healthcare professionals; 502 physicians, dentists and pharmacists; 822 residents; and 185 researchers, 448 volunteers and 3,502 interns and students in a wide range of disciplines. Sainte-Justine has 484 beds, including 35 at the Centre de réadaptation Marie Enfant, the only exclusively pediatric rehabilitation centre in Quebec. The World Health Organization has recognized CHU Sainte-Justine as a “health promoting hospital.”

CHU Sainte-Justine

Mélanie Dallaire
Senior Advisor, Media Relations
CHU Sainte-Justine
514-345-7707 (direct line)
514-415-5727 (media pager)

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