Committed to Innovate. Honoured To Be The World's First: Apollo Cancer Centres’ Doctors Perform Transformative Keyhole Approach for Insular Brain Tumor

Insular-Brain-Tumor From Left to Right Dr Pradeep Balaji, Consultant – Neurosurgery, ACC Chennai, Dr Vignesh Sayeerajan, Consultant – Neurosurgery, ACC Chennai, Dr Agnetia Vinoth, Consultant – Neurosurgery, ACC Chennai Mr. Harshad Reddy, Director – Group Oncology and International, and Dr Hrishikesh Sarkar, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, ACC Chennai.

Chennai, May 21, 2024 – In a medical feat akin to landing on the moon's unexplored terrain, a team of neurosurgeons at Apollo Cancer Centres (ACCs), Chennai, India, were able to achieve what was once thought impossible - aaccessing and removing deeply seated insular brain tumor through a transformative and a novel eyebrow keyhole approach. This unprecedented technique, being the world’s first, marks an important advancement in the field of Neuro Oncology. It provides not only another alternative to remove these deep seated brain tumors but it also demonstrates clinical excellence, efficiency and safety.

New Frontier: This unprecedented approach for accessing and removing deeply seated insular brain tumors, unravels a new frontier in Neuro Oncology.

Speedy Recovery: This innovative outlook by neurosurgeons, called for a minuscule incision in the eyebrow region, enabling speedy recovery and return to normalcy


Complexity of procedure: The insula, a crucial part of the brain, is difficult to access for surgery due to its deep integration and proximity to speech and motor centers.

Traditional Approach: Results in 30-50% chance of risks like paralysis, stroke, and language deficits, but remains the primary treatment option with a typical recovery time of 5-7 days.


Transformative Keyhole Approach: The minimally invasive eyebrow keyhole approach, emanating from advanced computer simulations, prior experience with keyhole surgeries for other areas and cadaveric studies, significantly reduced recovery time, allowing patients to resume normal activities within 3 days post-surgery.

The journey began with the diagnosis of a 44-year-old woman found to have an incidental tumor nestled within the delicate folds of her dominant-side insular lobe of her brain. A scan conducted following a minor trauma revealed this lesion in the intricate area known as the insula.

The insula, which is deeply embedded within the cerebral cortex, poses significant challenges for surgical intervention. It is surrounded by vital areas controlling functions such as speech and movement and is layered by a dense network of blood vessels. Traditional surgical approaches require navigating through critical brain tissue and blood vessels, risking paralysis, stroke, and language impairment. Often, patients must remain awake during surgery, adding to their distress and increasing the risk of complications such as seizures and brain bulges. Despite these risks, surgery remains the primary option.

Recognizing the daunting task ahead, especially in patients with minimal symptoms, the neurosurgical team at Apollo Cancer Centres pioneered a ground-breaking approach, stepping away from the conventional treatment plan. Leveraging their prior experience with keyhole surgeries for skull base lesions, the team developed a similar strategy to reach previously uncharted areas of the brain. This new keyhole approach via a minuscule incision in the eyebrow to the insula was born out of meticulous planning, cadaveric feasibility studies, and advanced computer simulations that promises a safer and more direct route, minimizing the potential risks involved in conventional approach.

Dr Hrishikesh Sarkar, Senior Consultant – Neurosurgery, Apollo Cancer Centres , “The impact of this achievement cannot be overstated. Like the historic landing of ‘Chandrayaan’ on the moon's south pole, this groundbreaking surgical approach of Apollo Cancer Centres, opens up a new frontier in neurosurgery. The eyebrow keyhole approach offers a transformative alternative to reach these deep seated tumours inside the brain, minimizing invasiveness, reducing collateral damage, and significantly enhancing patient safety and overall quality of life.”

Dr. Agnetia Vinoth, Consultant – Neurosurgery, Apollo Cancer Centres, said, “Faced with a profoundly intricate case, our neuro team were compelled to challenge the conventional boundaries of neurosurgery. Opting for an unconventional route, we utilized the eyebrow keyhole approach, an ‘out of the box’ technique that minimized risks and maximized safety for our patient.”

Dr. Preetha Reddy, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd,  passionately asserted, " At Apollo Cancer Centres, our unwavering dedication to innovation has once again propelled Indian medical science onto the global stage. The recent milestone of performing the world's first transformative keyhole approach for Insular Brain Tumour is not merely a victory for our doctors, patients, or hospital alone; it is a triumph for our entire nation. This remarkable achievement vividly showcases India's ability to pioneer ground-breaking medical advancements with the potential to reshape healthcare worldwide. It stands as a testament to the exceptional medical talent within our borders, inspiring us to continually innovate, explore, and evolve in the field of healthcare."

The Cancer Winner said, “I am deeply thankful to Apollo Cancer Centres for making my surgery less challenging and ensuring swift recovery. The care and advanced treatment I received not only healed me but gave me hope, comfort, and a shorter return to normalcy. I thank the team of neurosurgeons for treating me with utmost care and offering me with a new lease of life.”

This first-of-its-kind clinical milestone by Apollo Cancer Centres demonstrates the power of innovation, collaboration, and the relentless pursuit of excellence in healthcare, cementing its status as a beacon of medical innovation and advancement on the global stage.


About Apollo Cancer Centre –


Cancer care today means 360-degree comprehensive care, which requires commitment, expertise, and an indomitable spirit from cancer specialists.

Apollo Cancer Centre has a network across India with over 325 oncologists to oversee the delivery of high-end precision Oncology Therapy. Our oncologists deliver world-class cancer care following an organ-based practice under competent Cancer Management Teams. This helps us in delivering exemplary treatment to the patient in an environment that has consistently delivered an international standard of clinical outcomes.

Today, people from 147 countries come to India for cancer treatment at Apollo Cancer Centre. With the first and only Pencil Beam Proton Therapy Centre in South Asia & Middle East, Apollo Cancer Centre.

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