First clinical use of Philips’ augmented-reality surgical navigation system takes place

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The first clinical cases using a new surgical navigation system have been successfully treated at Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden.

The technology uses high-resolution optical cameras mounted on the flat panel X-ray detector to image the surface of the patient. It then combines the external view captured by the cameras and the internal 3D view of the patient acquired by the X-ray system to construct a 3D augmented-reality view of the patient’s external and internal anatomy. This real-time 3D view of the patient’s spine in relation to the incision sites in the skin aims to improve procedure planning, surgical tool navigation and implant accuracy.

“This new technology allows us to use augmented reality in combination with 3D imaging for intraoperative surgical planning and navigation of our devices. We have now treated four patients using the system and placed 44 pedicle screws with satisfactory results. We have been able to check the overall result in 3D in the operating room without the need to move the patient to a computed tomography scanner. The radiation dose to the staff is zero and minimal to the patient.” says Adrian Elmi Terander, principal investigator at Karolinska University Hospital. “We tested this workflow pre-clinically for complex thoracic and cervical spine surgeries with very convincing results and look forward to extending it to complex cerebral neurosurgical procedures.”

The current clinical study is conducted in collaboration between Neurosurgery, Orthopedics and Neuroradiology departments at Karolinska University Hospital and Philips. The results of the first pre-clinical study on the technology have been published in the scientific journal Spine. The technology was shown to be superior in respect to overall accuracy, compared to pedicle screw placement without the aid of augmented-reality surgical navigation technology (85% vs 64%).

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