The end of the most serious headache cases may be closer thanks to robotics applied to medicine. Hospital del Mar in Barcelona is the first center in Spain to successfully perform robot-assisted surgery to treat cluster headache, one of the most disabling types.

The operation took place on March 9 on a 35-year-old patient who suffered daily crises of cluster headache, a disease that causes several episodes of severe pain throughout the day. In fact, due to his daily crises “with a strong intensity” he had to inject himself with medication almost every day to control the pain.

The intervention to which he was successfully subjected, considered highly complex, consists of placing an electrode in a deep and reduced area of ​​the brain to apply a technique called deep brain stimulation.

This type of headache affects some 50,000 people throughout the State, according to data from the Spanish Society of Neurology. In addition, between 10 and 20 percent of people who suffer from it do not respond to any pharmacological treatment.

«It is a surgery in which the precision in the placement of the electrode is essential to achieve improvement of the disease. If we deviate more than a millimeter, it could not be effective, “explains Dr. Gloria Villalba, coordinator of the Hospital del Mar Neurosurgery Service and neurosurgeon responsible for the intervention.

For the surgery, a pioneering procedure was used where a surgical robot intervened, which was in charge of planning and placing the electrode, with millimeter precision. After the intervention, the patient received the altra three days later since, although the surgical intervention is complex in itself, it does not carry a high risk of complications.

After the operation, the recovery rate is around 80 percent. In the case of the patient at Hospital del Mar, two months after the intervention, he has shown a significant decrease in pain that has become milder and all this has led to an improvement in his quality of life.