NorthShore is First in Chicagoland area offering New Technology to Reach Brain Tumors Previously Deemed ‘Inoperable’

NorthShore is one of only three sites in Illinois offering this technology

Having a full throttle life professionally and with her three children, 44-year old Jill Vannatta has a new normal as she recuperates from brain surgery. A mass five inches deep into the thalamus portion of her brain was successfully removed through an opening smaller than a dime.

An avid hunter jumper, she was in Florida participating in a horse show when the mass was discovered. She flew home for surgery performed by Julian Bailes, MD, at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore).

“I was between riding two different horses in warm-up rounds and the first round didn’t feel right at all,” said Vannatta. “The very fact that I voluntarily got off a horse was a red flag to everyone who knew me. Once I got to the hospital and they told me I had a mass in my brain, I knew it was serious.”

Dr. Bailes is one of only 200 trained neurosurgeons in the US to utilize a new surgical option for removing tumors located deep in the brain -- offering new hope to patients with tumors and clots previously considered inoperable.

The NICO BrainPath system is an atraumatic, minimally-invasive surgical technique for accessing and removing tumors, blood clots and other growths located deep within the brain. Uniquely designed to minimize the risk of damage to areas of the brain that control speech, memory, vision and other functions the system improves treatment results, while reducing length of hospital stay and the cost of that stay.

“The BrainPath technology dramatically changes how neurosurgeons can move through the natural folds of the brain, instead of cutting through brain tissue, to reach and operate within the brain where we haven’t been able to before,” said Dr. Bailes, co-director for the NorthShore Neurological Institute based in Evanston, IL.

It is estimated that 50% of 450,000 patients in the US diagnosed with brain abnormalities have limited surgical options available to them. This advanced technology integrates the following 6 principles: brain mapping, navigation technology, minimally-invasive access, high definition optics, removal and targeted therapy.

Director, Public Relations


About NorthShore University HealthSystem

Headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. The system includes four hospitals in Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park and Skokie. NorthShore employs approximately 10,000 and has 2,400 affiliated physicians, including a 900+ physician, multispecialty group practice with over 100 office locations. Further, NorthShore supports teaching and research as the principal teaching affiliate for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

The NorthShore Research Institute focuses on clinical and translational research, including leadership in clinical trials and medical informatics. The NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation is the primary philanthropic entity of NorthShore. The Foundation raises charitable contributions and engages volunteer friends in support of NorthShore’s ongoing mission to preserve and improve human life.

NorthShore has significant capabilities in a wide spectrum of clinical programs, including Kellogg Cancer Center, NorthShore Neurological Institute, cardiovascular care, orthopaedics, high-risk maternity and pediatrics. NorthShore is a Magnet recognized organization, the first in Illinois designated as a system to receive this prestigious honor that demonstrates excellence in nursing and high standards in patient care. NorthShore is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including electronic medical records (EMR). In 2003, NorthShore was among the first in the country to successfully launch a system-wide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.


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