Grandma of 14 one of Indiana patients to experience new, robotic technology during brain surgery

(Provided Photo/IU Health)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A grandma of 14 is among the first patients in Indiana to undergo brain surgery with doctors using new, robotic technology.

Lisa Foster was having headaches, her neck was stiff and she could hardly walk. Like so many do, she googled her symptoms and diagnosed herself with Multiple Sclerosis.

But a visit to the doctor two days before she was set to go on a cruise discovered something else.

“She said it’s a gigantic tumor in your brain stem,” Foster said.

It was not cancer, but the tumor had to go.

“We chose the goal of getting much of the tumor out as possible with knowing that we didn’t want to injure some of the vital nerves of the brain stem,” Dr. Mitesh Shaw, a neurosurgeon at IU Health said.

He did that with the help of a new technology, a digital microscope attached to a robotic arm that turns and moves and shows up on a big screen, giving the surgeon a better picture of what they’re seeing. It also gives surgeons a road map so they can navigate around certain areas of the brain.

“There are tumors that we wouldn’t have attacked because of the risks involved that we now go after,” Shah said.

Dr. Shah went after Lisa’s for eight hours.

“Before my surgery I thought this was in God’s hands and I’m going to be out for all this time so it was really hard on my family you know to go through it but I just kind of resigned myself to the fact that whatever happens, happens,” she said.

She spent 32 days in the hospital recovering and another week in rehab, but is now looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren while planning another cruise.

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