IONM team, awake craniotomy

June 7, 2019 (Brentwood,TN)—SpecialtyCare—the nation’s leading provider of outsourced intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) services—is pleased to announce members of its IONM team played a vital role in the first awake brain surgery to take place in the state of Delaware.

Alier Franco, Ph.D., CNIM clinical manager, Jeremy McCallister AUD, DABNM, clinical manager, and Jamie DiCicco M.S., CNIM, senior surgical neurophysiologist, represented SpecialtyCare on a multidisciplinary surgical team at Christiana Care Hospital that consisted of speech pathologists, specialized neurosurgical nurses, and anesthesiologists. Neurosurgeons Pulak Ray, M.D., and Leif-Erik Bohman, M.D., performed an awake craniotomy, a procedure with a long history of use for patients with neurological conditions, including brain tumors or epileptic seizures. This was the first time the operation has taken place in the state for a brain tumor.

Christiana Care Surgical team

Photo courtesy of Christiana Care. Graham Cancer Center colleagues led the first awake brain surgery in Delaware. From left: Jeremy McCallister, Au.D., DABNM; Debra A. Dibert, BSN, RN; Kristen Palmer, MA; Leif-Erik Bohman, M.D.; Pulak Ray, M.D.; Britney Walker, PA-C; Jessica Bahls, MS, CCC-SLP; Jamie DiCicco, MS, CNIM; and Eileen Christie, BSN, RN, CNOR.


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According to Christiana Care News, the patient’s tumor, called a glioblastoma multiforme, was pushing on the centers of the brain that control speech and language comprehension. To avoid damaging functioning portions of the brain during surgery, the patient must be awake throughout the procedure to respond to questions, which provides a roadmap for the surgeon.

SpecialtyCare’s IONM team had the unique advantage of prior experience in awake craniotomies. They provided extensive communication and training for surgical team members prior to surgery and consulted with the patient to educate and prepare them for what to expect during the procedure. IONM is critical to the success of the surgery, as the team provided the electrophysiological mapping of the cortex to identify the safe parts of the brain for operating.

DiCicco said it was a rewarding experience to be part of a select team taking on a case that was monumental to the hospital. She said the success of the surgery can be credited to teamwork, communication, and the resources they have access to at SpecialtyCare.

“Having the SpecialtyCare medical journal database to refresh on stimulating and recording parameters for language mapping procedures was important,” she said. “Also having an openness between regions and managers to reach out and double check that we are all on the same page and performing everything safely is a nice component to our team.”

The team hopes that because the procedure went smoothly it will open the door for future awake craniotomies to take place at Christiana Care, which had previously been referred out to hospitals in Philadelphia.

About SpecialtyCare
More than 1,100 hospitals and 13,500 physicians trust SpecialtyCare to help them achieve exceptional care outcomes, regulatory compliance, and financial results in cardiovascular perfusion, intraoperative neuromonitoring, minimally invasive surgical support, surgical first assistance, autologous transfusion services and sterile processing. With nearly 1,500 clinicians supporting over 400,000 procedures annually, we maintain the SpecialtyCare Operative Procedural Registry (SCOPE™), the largest procedural database of its kind, which we use to identify standards, determine benchmarks, disseminate best practices, and foster innovations that improve patient outcomes, increase efficiencies and minimize costs. We are accredited and certified by The Joint Commission. By developing expertise beyond industry requirements, our customers can be certain they have the best partner for clinical excellence.

Kaitlin Pickrel, 615-345-5395
Senior Marketing Communications Specialist
[email protected]