Home E-Weekly April 1, 2014

A New Way to Navigate Surgery

Published: March 31, 2014

A newly developed surgical navigation system that uses images from an ordinary mobile C-arm provides more accurate results and more efficient operation than current state-of-the-art image-guidance systems, say researchers.

The innovative computerized orientation process could improve precision and patient safety in a wide range of minimally invasive procedures, particularly spine and neurosurgery, write the Johns Hopkins University engineers in a recent issue of the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology.

Using an algorithm that the research team had previously constructed to help spine surgeons navigate vertebral levels, the system automatically matches 2D fluoroscopic images to 3D CT scans and updates them throughout the case. It can derive navigational information from images taken with an extremely low dose of radiation, exposing the patient to even less radiation than a routine intraoperative image would.

Testing the system on cadavers, the team has found that its results are consistently more precise than those of existing systems, delivering better than 2mm of accuracy as compared to a standard of 2mm to 4mm.

David Bernard

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