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CHU Sainte-Justine
Monday, September 19 2016
Press release

New hope for children living with epilepsy or inoperable brain tumours

MONTREAL, Monday, September 19, 2016 – Thanks to a generous donation from the charity Kurling for Kids, the CHU Sainte-Justine Neurosurgery Service has acquired the very first pediatric neurosurgery laser in Canada. The patients who will benefit from this ground-breaking technology are children living with medically resistant epilepsy or brain tumours that are difficult to access using conventional surgery.

“This is a revolutionary technology that lets us employ magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) to obtain a real-time view of what the laser is destroying in the targeted area of the brain,” stated Dr. Lionel Carmant, a neurologist at CHU Sainte-Justine. “It also enables us to undertake procedures involving an epileptic lesion or tumour without interfering with the unaffected parts of the brain, thus protecting children’s neurodevelopment – the raison d’être of our Integrated Centre for Child Neurodevelopment Centre (CIRENE).”

The use of lasers in neurosurgery makes it possible to carry out non-invasive (incision-free) procedures and eliminate long hospital stays, thereby reducing overall wait times. Children can return home after 48 hours and resume their normal activities, unlike conventional surgery which entails 7 to 14 days’ hospitalization and a period of restricted activity lasting one to two months. And because patients no longer need to be admitted to the ICU, the number of last-minute cancellations is reduced. The resulting savings for the healthcare system are considerable.

Sainte-Justine has recruited Dr. Alexander Weil, the only Canadian pediatric neurosurgeon trained in this technique. After studying medicine at the Université de Montréal, he completed his residency at Sainte-Justine and a fellowship in neurosurgery at Miami Children's Hospital.

“I’ll forever be indebted to Sainte-Justine for saving my daughter’s life.” For Robert Sears, philanthropist and president of Kurling for Kids, the need to give back to the hospital is compelling. In the past 18 years, he has brought together biag-hearted men and women to join him in this great adventure. With the help of his executive committee and the commitment of 11 curling clubs, including over 700 volunteers per year, more than $2 million has been raised for sick children in Quebec. Once again, Kurling for Kids has stepped up with a generous contribution of $600,000 over four years to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, which has gone toward the purchase of this neurosurgical laser system.

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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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