New laser MRI surgery saves Dale Brockman


A breakthrough in hi-tech medicine has saved a young dad from a debilitating brain disorder.

Dale Brockman, 31, suffers from epilepsy, a brain disorder that causes seizures, with the young dad losing consciousness for 10 to 20 seconds once per month.

But the young man is now back at home and quickly on the mend after undergoing a new laser MRI surgery at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital, pioneered by neurosurgeon Mark Dexter.

Mr Brockman said the laser option saved him from having a bigger piece of his brain “cut out”.

“The medication was doing as well as it could, it was stopping large seizures, but I’d still have a seizure at least once a month where I’d be unconscious for 10 to 20 seconds and not feeling great afterwards,” he said.

“The only other option was having the temporal lobectomy and having an actual piece cut out of my brain.

“A much bigger piece than what was taken through the laser MRI.

“I would have been in hospital for recovering for at least another week and then I would have to recover at home without being able to do normal things for a few months, plus the risk of memory loss or my ability to walk properly.

“Following the laser MRI procedure, I’m feeling good and back to work, back to doing normal things.”

Dr Dexter said the new procedure, which was backed by a $500,000 laser machine donated by construction company DeiCorp, reduced risk and recovery time.

“Traditional brain surgery for epilepsy patients involves invasive surgery with a long recovery time and increased risks,” he said.

“This procedure is much less intrusive and the patient can be discharged in less than a day.”

The laser MRI dissolves the brain tissue that causes the seizures through a laser fibre.

The procedure is much less invasive with no skin incision and just a needle puncture site that can be closed with one stitch.

The hospital discharged Mr Brockman less than 24 hours after his procedure.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park hailed the surgical innovation as an “incredible breakthrough”.

“I’m pleased to see another incredible breakthrough come out of the Westmead Health Precinct,” he said.

“It is innovative treatments like this one being used in NSW, which are resulting in vastly improved health outcomes for people like Dale.”