Augmented reality guide 'can aid spine and cranial surgery'

Engineering

A new augmented reality system has been developed to help guide surgeons through potentially delicate spine and cranial surgery.

Created by Philips, the system combines camera images of the outside of the patient with three-dimensional X-rays of the inner workings, providing the surgeon with a detailed path to follow when carrying out minimally invasive techniques, reports The Engineer.

“A new augmented reality system to guide surgeons through minimally-invasive spinal procedures has been designed by Philips.“

High-resolution optical cameras are mounted on a flat-panel X-ray detector to image the surface of the patient, which when added to the internal view provides accurate real-time images of the anatomy. Small patches stuck to the skin are used as markers to help the software determine where the cameras are pointing in relation to the the body at any time.

In preclinical trials published in the journal Spine, the technology was shown to improve the overall accuracy of screw placement from 64 percent to 84 percent. Clinical trials are now set to be conducted at ten hospitals around the world.

Ronald Tabaksblat, business leader of image-guided therapy systems at Philips, said: "This technology is designed to offer the ability to carry out a procedure with a high level of confidence and accuracy, using minimally invasive techniques."

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