Monday, August 20, 2018

The Neurosurgical unit at Hull Royal Infirmary has benefited enormously as a result of the generosity of the people of Sutton-on-Sea and the surrounding area.  Ruth and Tony Knowles have made an incredible effort to raise money for our unit in memory of their daughter. This has been used to buy much needed pieces of equipment.  We have all been amazed by the way in which your community has rallied to support Ruth and Tony’s appeal in memory of their daughter.

We are currently raising money for the following equipment:



As a result of the appeal we have managed to buy the following equipment:
Micro-Neurosurgical Instruments

Neurosurgical Micro Instruments

The instruments are extremely helpful in challenging operations to remove skull base tumours, pituitary tumours, clipping aneurysms and other brain tumours.

NIM-ECLIPSE Spinal System

The NIM-ECLIPSETM Spinal System is the next generation of surgeon-directed and professionally supported spinal neuromonitoring technology all on a single, easy-to-use portable platform.  The NIM-ECLIPSETM Spinal System may allow physicians to monitor critical neural pathways and reduce the risk of postoperative neurological deficits.

This machine has tools to use to make holes through the spine to put screws in and avoid the spinal cord and nerves and also allows direct monitoring of the spinal cord with stimulating electrodes in the scalp and recording electrodes in the legs you can monitor the spinal cord function whilst removing tumours pressing on the surface of the cord or from the spinal cord itself minimising the risk of injury.


Cavitron Ultrasonic Surgical Aspirator (CUSA)
CUSAThis is a dissecting device that uses ultrasonic frequencies to fragment tissue. This highly-specialized instrument is available at most hospitals that focus on neurosurgery. Utilizing a hollow titanium tip that vibrates along its longitudinal axis, fragmentation of susceptible tissue occurs while concurrently lavaging and aspirating material from the surgical site. The CUSA selectively ablates tissues with high water content such as tumour tissue. This instrument is most useful when removing purportedly “non-resectable” brain and spine tumours. With a gentle wand-like motion, the CUSA enables a “layer by layer” surgical excision without affecting vital structures.
Slimline Slide Drying Hotplate
Slimline Slide Drying HotplateThis is designed to dry paraffin tissue sections efficiently and to take up a minimum of bench space in the laboratory. The instrument has digital temperature control which provides accurate control of the drying temperature and is coupled with an ultra fast heating system for rapid warm up. Microscope slides are supported on moveable rails which allow heated air to pass underneath the slides to accelerate drying.
Block Trimmer
Block TrimmerThis allows users to remove excess paraffin wax efficiently from the outside of tissue cassettes, with no risk of damage to printed text or barcodes and with improved safety for laboratory staff. Melted paraffin wax is collected in a disposable collection pot.
Tissue Embedding Centre

Tissue Embedding CentreAn embedding centre is a piece of laboratory equipment that helps us in the process of making microscopic slides for diagnosis of a biopsy.  It does this by transferring processed tissue samples into wax blocks so that they can be sliced very thinly.  They are then mounted onto a glass slides, stained with dyes and examined.  Thousands of wax blocks are made by laboratories every day and this cannot be achieved as accurately or quickly without an embedding station, holding the wax at just the right temperature for our working but also cooling it quickly when required.

Our current embedding centre is about 13 years old and is now past its best and parts for repair are becoming difficult to purchase.

Egerton Spinal Turning Bed

Spinal Turning BedThe spinal turning bed is used for the treatment of patients with spinal fractures and tumours.

lt allows patients to be safely turned by a programmed powered bed, freeing nurses for nursing duties.

Without the bed as many as 6 nurses would be needed to turn each patient.

Since the bed was donated it has been used frequently and is said to be very comfortable by it’s occupants !

Codman Cutting Bipolar Diathermy

Codman Cutting Bipolar DiathermySurgeons use heated instruments to destroy and remove tissue and to seal blood vessels — similar but more advanced than the bucket of hot pitch and heated cautery irons used on HMS Victory at Trafalgar!

The bipolar machine allows the precise delivery of heated instruments to tumours in the brain and spinal cord, facilitating their removal and
destruction without injuring adjacent normal tissue.

Since the diathermy was donated it has been used most weeks to help with tumour removal.

CPAP Respiratory Circuits

CPAP Respiratory CircuitsWhen patients have been ventilated on our ITU they have to be weaned off life support machines back to normal breathing.

Older people with stiffer lungs, smokers or people with brain damage that need tracheostomies, often have to be weaned via a humidified breathing

The circuit applies a back pressure to the lungs to stop the lung air sacs collapsing. If the air sacs collapse, they perform like plastic bags in supermarkets and are very difficult to prise apart again !

Currently, we borrow parts from other department to make Humidified CPAP (continuous positive airways pressure) Circuits.

We hope to buy 3 CPAP circuits to share between our 6 lTU and 10 HDU beds. The component parts cost £4500.

Dual Purpose Bed
Dual-Purpose BedThis bed is to support the care of patients suffering the effects of Trauma to the Brain and Spine. Many young people suffer from accidents and these can lead to significant long term disability. Early nursing care can be very labour intensive and many nurses can be required to look after a single person. Early poor posture can lead to longer—term disability and a greater requirement for rehabilitation.
Agitated, fit young patients can be a handful to look after and specialist ‘luxury’ equipment can ease the physical burden on our nurses to allow them to spend more time nursing.
Dual-Purpose Bed
The current spinal turning bed is ideal for patients with isolated spinal problems but a dual—purpose bed suited to intensive care and spinal injuries would sometimes be more suitable. Our patients frequently hop between beds depending on their current and changing needs!!!

Dual-Purpose BedThe bed would free our nurses time for nursing, allow them to expend less brute strength and provide a jump start on the path to recovery and rehabilitation.
Cryostat for Neuropathology intraoperative Diagnosis of Brain Tumours

CryostatA cryostat is a precision controlled knife for cutting thin sections of frozen specimens.

It is the only piece of equipment that can be used to produce rapid, fresh tissue sections for examination.

It quickly freezes tissue to a solid block of ice so that it can be cut into thin sections for diagnosis under a microscope.

This equipment is vital for intra-operative diagnosis of brain tumours. It takes 15-25 minutes to obtain a provisional diagnosis as opposed to processing biopsy material overnight.

It allows the surgeon to tailor the operation as shown recently on the BBC program about a Neurosurgeon, “Your life in their hands".

Continued intracranial Pressure Monitoring Kit

Continued intracranial Pressure Monitoring KitContinued intracranial Pressure Monitoring KitTo determine the need for changes in treatment, prolonged recording of brain pressures is sometimes necessary for example after head injury, in patients with shunts (for water on the brain - hydrocephalus) and in elderly with possible raised ICP.  Prolonged 24-48 hour monitoring is often required.

Our old paper chart recorder has now failed, cannot be repaired and can only be replaced with a modern PC based data logger.

Whisperflow Oxygen Delivery System

WhisperflowThis system is used to wean patients off life support machines.  Being on a ventilator when you are ill weakens the respiratory muscles, like an astronaut developing weakness in space.  After prolonged ventilation people require help to re-establish their breathing and air pressure support whilst their lungs recover and their breathing muscles strengthen.

When lung air sacs collapse they are hard to open (like separating the sides of a polythene bag in the supermarket) and this machine makes sure that the lung air sacs remain open even if your breathing is weak.

This hastens the return to normality and minimises the time needed in Intensive Care.

Exercise Equipment

Exercise Equipment

As anyone that has experience of caring for someone after a stroke will be aware, the loss of use of body parts as a consequence of brain damage causes significant disability.  The loss of control of the trunk muscle that maintain posture and balance, and also loss of general fitness slow down recovery.

Patients have to learn to walk again, like toddlers, and repeated practice is required to regain independence.  Making this interesting and enjoyable is difficult when people feel ill.  Modern physiotherapy methods use normal fitness equipment and games to improve co-ordination.

We hope to buy some basic home gym type equipment to hasten recovery, teaching skills that can be taken home, and also to buy a Wii Fit to encourage participation and demonstrate daily progress against individual scores.

Leica DFC 420 Digital Camera

Leica Digital Camera

This camera system provides high quality pictures of microscope slides and is used for image analysis, recording, reporting and to obtain opinions from other consultants.

The Neuropathology and Neurosurgery departments jointly conduct research into brain tumours and need to record images in a form that allows objective comparison of pathology slides.  This system allows faster and reproducible image analysis and features automated cell counting and marking for the research program.

This piece of equipment is particularly important because it is directly related to research into the disease that afflicted Emma-Jayne.

Medical Fluid Warmer EC230 L

Medical Fluid Warmer

Sick patients can become rapidly cold if they are infused with iv fluids at room temperature, which can lead to serious complications.  Some infusions used in Neurosurgery form crystals if stored at room temperature.  Mannitol is the best example and is used to rapidly reduce pressure in the skull in life threatening situations such as after head injury and in tumour patients.

lt cannot be used if full of crystals and, when time is of the essence, a fluid warmer can literally save lives.  A thermostatic warmer in our ICU next to our patients is much more reliable than a radiator or a warmer in a remote building!!

BladderScan BVI 6100


This machine allows us to measure the volume of urine in the bladder in patients that are unable to communicate because of brain damage, on life support machines or who have spinal injuries and no feeling.  lt provides a non invasive way of measuring bladder volume without having to pass a catheter tube into the bladder.

We all know how uncomfortable it is to be “bursting” and hopefully can appreciate the distress this could cause if you couldn't communicate for some reason.

Enterprise Profiling Bed

Enterprise Profiling Bed

The bed is designed to facilitate nursing of heavily dependent patients with neurological disability and allows the patients to have more control over their position and comfort.

The special mattress distributes pressure more evenly across the body so that the risk of skin damage, pain and pressure sores is greatly reduced.

Microlux Camera System


With keyhole image guided surgery increasingly common in neurosurgery, many neurosurgical procedures are now performed down deep dark holes.  This has many advantages for patients as the pain and discomfort from a larger wound are less and the hospital stay is lessened.  Operating like this can be likened to assembling a ship in an opaque bottle with only one person being able to see down the neck!

When training junior surgeons, it is difficult to see what they are doing and to give advice.  The Consultant has to constantly keep changing places to supervise, disrupting the flow of a procedure.  Most keyhole techniques are now televised to aid training.

In neurosurgery, we use microscopes with cameras for some vascular surgery but for tumour surgery this is often impractical as we use headlights for illumination.  A headlight with integrated camera provides the illumination necessary and allows a consultant to safely delegate a procedure and supervise a trainee.

Neurosign 400 / 800 Nerve Monitors

Neurosign 400

This machine allows us to monitor the cranial nerves and spinal nerves when removing tumours from around the skull base or from around the nerves at the base of the spine.  By probing for the nerves that are often encompassed by a tumour they can be identified and preserved to allow improved hope of recovery.

The machines have either 4 or 8 channels, allowing either 4 or 8 nerve to be monitored.  The more the merrier as the margin of safety for the patient is increased.

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