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Relentless Flow Measurement Champion Fady T. Charbel MD, FAANS, FACS

By Susan Eymann, MS30 Aug 2023

Dr. Fady T. Charbel, Professor and Head, Richard L. and Gertrude W. Fruin Professor, Chief of Neurovascular Section at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is internationally recognized for his research and clinical expertise in stroke, cerebrovascular disorders, cerebral blood-flow metabolism and complex cerebral tumors. Over his 30-year career as a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon, Dr. Charbel has been a pioneer and relentless champion of quantitative measurements of cerebral flow before, during, and after cerebrovascular neurosurgery.

A native of Lebanon, where he received his undergraduate and medical degrees, Dr. Charbel completed fellowships at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit before moving to the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1991. In 2001, he followed in the steps of his mentor, Dr. James Ausman, to become Professor and Head of the Department of Neurosurgery and Chief of the Neurovascular Section of the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

As a scientist/surgeon, Dr. Charbel recognized early the vital importance of knowing cerebral blood flow before, during, and after a cerebrovascular procedure. In 2002, Dr. Charbel was named “Inventor of the Year” by his institution for his contributions as co-inventor with Transonic of the Charbel Micro-Flowprobe® The bayonet-handle style Flowprobe that is named after him allows flow measurements to be made under a surgical microscope. It provides quantitative, on-the-spot measurements of flow in major cerebral arteries during a host of cerebrovascular procedures. Furthermore, Dr. Charbel’s innovative research and collaboration with engineers at the University of Illinois at Chicago resulted in the development of Noninvasive Optimal Vessel Analysis or NOVA, a software program that can quantify the volume, velocity, and direction of blood flowing through any major vessel in the brain using standard MRI equipment. NOVA complements the Charbel Micro-Flowprobe’s intraoperative volume flow measurements by providing anatomical and flow information both pre-operatively and post-operatively.

NOVA technology has led to numerous discoveries about the nature of strokes. A 2015 paper published in JAMA Neurology reported that stroke patients with low blood flow in the back of the brain are at greater risk for a second stroke. Charbel’s NOVA technology received runner-up recognition at the 2006 Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards.

In 2017, at their annual meeting in Los Angeles, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) awarded Dr. Charbel the prestigious Cushing Prize for his pioneering and championing of quantitative measurements during cerebrovascular surgery. AANS bestows the Cushing Award for Technical Excellence and Innovation in Neurosurgery to honor an AANS member for technical prowess and skill and/or innovation in the development of new procedures, which have become part of the arsenal neurosurgeons use to treat disease or trauma.

As a deft cerebrovascular surgeon, Dr. Charbel is admired by colleagues for his methodical approach and fortitude under fire. He is the consummate educator. Through publications, lectures, seminars, workshops, and webinars delivered throughout the world over the past several decades, Dr. Charbel has tirelessly championed meticulous cerebrovascular surgery augmented by quantitative flow measurements to guide surgical management and improve outcomes. Transonic is proud to have Dr. Charbel as a valued collaborator whose generous sharing of his extensive experience helps advance meaningful measurements during cerebrovascular surgery.