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Electrocorticographic Monitoring of Brain Retraction Injury

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Electrocorticography as a Neurophysiological Marker for Intraoperative Monitoring of Brain Retraction



  • Contact name

    William Muirhead

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    UCLH/UCL Joint Research Office

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    0 years, 6 months, 31 days

  • Research summary

    In many neurosurgical procedures the brain needs to be moved out of the surgeon's way to access the surgical target (typically for surgery where the pathology is in the skull base such as a cerebral aneurysm or vestibular schwannoma for example). This is most often achieved with a ‘brain retractor’ - a metal spatula which is used to push the brain out of the way and hold it there. If too much pressure is applied, or even if a moderate amount of pressure is applied for a prolonged duration, brain damage will occur.
    Whether a patient will develop brain injury after a period of retraction can be difficult to predict as the development of damage depends not just on the duration of retraction and the force applied to the retractor but also on the structure of the brain tissue at the site of retraction, the geometry of the retractor, the mean arterial pressure and the
    presence of any previous insult to the brain. If a surgeon knew a particular retractor was causing brain injury, it is typically possible to mitigate this by loosening off the retractor and allowing the brain to recover. Surgeons, however, are typically not aware of which retractors are causing brain injury until after the event.

    The purpose of this research is to see if monitoring the electrical signal of the brain immediately under the retractor can provide a means of monitoring tissue health and alerting the surgeon to injury before it occurs.

  • REC name

    Yorkshire & The Humber - Leeds East Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    21 Apr 2022

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion