Philips announces new augmented-reality surgical navigation system


Philips has announced the development of an augmented-reality surgical navigation technology, designed to help surgeons perform image-guided open and minimally-invasive spine surgery.

The technology uses high-resolution optical cameras mounted on a 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, as well as reducing procedure times.

As part of a joint clinical research program, Philips hybrid operating rooms (ORs) with this new capability will be installed in a network of ten clinical collaborators to advance the technology.

The results of the first pre-clinical study on the technology have been published in Spine, as a result of a collaboration between Philips, Karolinska University Hospital (Stockholm, Sweden) and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati, USA). The technology was shown to be  significantly better with respect to overall accuracy, compared to pedicle screw placement without the aid of the augmented-reality surgical navigation technology (85% vs 64%, p<0.05).

“This new technology allows us to intraoperatively make a high-resolution 3D image of the patient’s spine, plan the optimal device path, and subsequently place pedicle screws using the system’s fully-automatic augmented-reality navigation,” says Skúlason of the Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland. “We can also check the overall result in 3D in the OR without the need to move the patient to a computed tomography scanner. And all this can be done without any radiation exposure to the surgeon and with minimal dose to the patient.”

The technology was previously presented at the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting in Boston, USA, by Adrian Elmi-Terander of Karolinska University Hospital.

“Since we no longer do open spine surgery, we depend on imaging and image quality,” comments Andreas Seekamp from the Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany. “I had expected the operations to take a little longer in the hybrid OR, but in fact just the opposite is true.”

Bemelman, trauma surgeon at the Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, the Netherlands, says, “We teamed up with vascular, neuro and orthopedic surgeons to create this multi-purpose OR to realise a high room utilisation, provide state-of-the-art care and reduce the overall cost for the hospital.”