What is robot-assisted neurosurgery?

Robot-assisted neurosurgery uses an advanced surgical tool called ROSA Brain to perform minimally invasive procedures in the brain. ROSA stands for robotic operating surgical assistant. It combines a robotic arm with the ability to get detailed pictures of your child’s brain. ROSA helps neurosurgeons treat children with epilepsy and other problems with the brain faster, more safely and more effectively.

ROSA’s surgical navigation system is like GPS for your child’s brain. We use this tool to target areas of your child’s brain with more precision. It helps us to both plan and perform procedures. ROSA’s image-guidance features and robotic arm work together under a neurosurgeon’s control. ROSA is not for every child. But it is useful for reaching very small areas deep inside the brain.

ROSA has many benefits:

  • Avoids removing part of the skull (craniotomy)
  • Allows for more precise procedures
  • Shortens the time your child is in surgery and under anesthesia
  • Reduces the number of stitches, which means faster recovery and less scarring
  • Lowers the risk of infection because the cuts (incisions) are so small
  • Lowers your child’s pain and their need for pain medicine

Who can benefit from neurosurgery with ROSA?

We use ROSA to perform many procedures in children. These include:

  • Putting in electrodes to help pinpoint where seizures start in children with epilepsy. This is called stereo-electroencephalography (stereo EEG). Sometimes we do this to learn if further surgery is possible.
  • Using electrodes to treat seizures. This is called responsive neural stimulation.
  • Removing a small piece of brain tissue (biopsy) to diagnose brain tumors and cortical dysplasia.
  • Putting electrodes deep inside the brain. This treats movement disorders and epilepsy with electrical pulses.
  • Using a laser probe to remove parts deep inside the brain that are causing seizures. This is called laser ablation. ROSA is especially useful for getting to a part deep in the brain called the hippocampus and for hypothalamic hamartoma.
  • Putting electrodes or a laser into tumors in children with tuberous sclerosis.
  • Removing tumors deep in the brain that cannot be completely removed by regular surgery.

What’s special about robot-assisted neurosurgery at Seattle Children’s?

Seattle Children’s is among the few children’s hospitals in the country to use ROSA for minimally invasive procedures in the brain.

We have the only epilepsy program in the Northwest specifically for children that is accredited level 4 by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). As a level 4 center, we use the most advanced technology to assess patients and diagnose epilepsy. Only level 4 centers perform a broad range of complex surgeries to treat epilepsy.

We are the largest brain tumor center for children in the Northwest and among the nation’s busiest centers.

Deciding how to treat epilepsy and other brain conditions involves many factors. We do imaging studies and talk with you and your child to learn about their condition and how it affects them. Taking into account everything we learn, our team will explain:

  • If robotic surgery is an option
  • If it’s a better choice than other treatments
  • If we recommend it for your child and why

Contact Us

Contact the Neurosciences Center at 206-987-2016 for an appointment, a second opinion or more information.

To make an appointment, you can call us directly or ask your child’s primary care provider to refer you. We encourage you to coordinate with your primary care provider when coming to Seattle Children's.

Providers, see how to refer a patient.