News & Press

June 26, 2013

Dr. Alzate Interviewed by The Examiner

Dr. Alzate Interviewed by The Examiner

Here is some exciting medical news for those battling brain cancer. A new brain surgery procedure is being offered amongst 11 hospitals in the nation, including Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. CTCA, located in Zion, Illinois, is the first local hospital to offer this exciting procedure.

New Brain Procedure Major Advancement in Neurosurgery

What makes this procedure so interesting is that it allows surgeons to remove tumors located deep inside the brain once thought to be inoperable. Fewer than 100 of these procedures have been done across the United States to date.

Dr. Alzate, head of neurosurgery at CTCA, talked to Chicago Health News Examiner Brandi Walker about when CTCA started offering this new procedure, how this surgery works, and its success as a brain cancer treatment.

 1.   When did your facility start using this new minimally invasive procedure? CTCA is one of only 11 hospitals in the nation currently offering the procedure. Our hospital began implementing the Six Pillar Approach in January 2013, but the technology has only been applied to cancer treatment over the last 12 months.
  2.  How exactly does this procedure work? The Six Pillar Approach uses a combination of several new advancements in medicine and is one of the few options for resecting cancerous lesions in the deep subcortical regions of the brain. We first integrate the pictures of the brain obtained from a MRI and highlight the different functional areas of the brain in color to safely navigate these areas. Using GPS navigation technology, a tool called the BrainPath, a 13mm instrument the size of a pencil, we can create a clear passageway to move through the natural folds and delicate fibers of the brain to reach the tumor, rather than cutting it. Once in the tumor, we use an endoscope and suction cutting device called Myriad to remove the tumor.
  3.  How successful has this surgery been for your patients battling brain cancer? To date we have performed 11 cases that in different circumstances may have been deemed inoperable or too risky. Our patients experienced a good outcome and improved quality of life as they continue their fight against cancer. Achieving greater tumor resection can extend life expectancy for some patients, allowing them extra time to spend with their loved ones.

For more information on this procedure and what the CTCA facility offers, visit its website at