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AR Finds Use in Minimally Invasive Surgery

Augmedics has created an Xvision-powered surgical guidance system to enable surgeons to explore the spines of patients in 3D. The technology is similar to that used in X-ray technology. Dr Frank Phillips, professor, and director of the Section of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and the Division of Spine Surgery at the Rush Medical Center became the first professional to use the new technology in a surgery setting, according to Midwest Orthopaedics.

The procedure assisted by this technology was performed recently on a patient suffering from spinal instability. This patient in question required spinal implants and lumbar fusion. Augmedics has further plans to delve into Xvision’s possibilities for other surgical procedures.

According to Phillips, two-dimensional CT scan and three-dimensional spinal anatomic images used as direct projections on the retina of surgeons and as surgical field superimpositions enhance the experience of spinal surgery. He elaborated further on the procedure. Phillips explained that the ability to place spinal instrumentation with optimal efficiency and accuracy conserves surgical time and reduces risks. He said that despite conventional surgical navigation systems already enhancing implant placement accuracy, AR can be considered as a better option. Augmented reality compounds the benefits of traditional navigation by adding the ability of three-dimensional spinal anatomy visualisation through the skin.

Surgery with the help of Xvision-augmented reality by Augmedics. Image source: augmedics

Phillips revealed that the patient who was operated on using the technology was doing well after the surgery. He said that the Xvision system has been approved by the FDA and could bring about a surgical practise revolution. Phillips remarked that the system gives surgeons better control over implementations and enables better visualisation of the tissue being worked on. According to him, it enhances safety and reduces the complexity of procedures, along with reducing post-surgery recovery times for patients.

The Xvision system has to be used with an augmented reality (AR) headset featuring a transparent-type near-eye display. Augmedics said that the headset performs precise determination of tools in real-time, and exhibits a virtual trajectory which gets superimposed on the CT data of patients. The three-dimensional data projected to the retina of surgeons during a minimally invasive process enables them to see the navigational data and the patients simultaneously. It removes the need for shifting focus from a patient being operated on to a remote screen. This is quite different from most conventional forms of robot-assisted surgeries.

The headset features a custom fitting setting for different users, along with a high-speed visual tracking processor, a wireless system, a headlamp, a transparent AR display, and a surgical tracking system that is built-in. Augmedics has stated that the user-friendly design aids in aligning the eyes and hands of surgeons. The new technology offers cutting-edge visualisation, bridging the gap between conventional navigation and the patient undergoing surgery. The company has also made it clear that the Xvision system incurs only a fraction of the usual costs of conventional navigation and robotics.

The Xvision system was used for a cadaver dissection procedure by Phillips at the Rush Medical Center before the spinal procedure. The Xvision Spine System is taking surgeries to the next level concerning precise instrument guidance in real-time.

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