Virtual reality was trumpeted as the next step in entertainment in 2016, so it’s no surprise that it’s making its way into medicine as well. Royal Philips announced a next-generation hybrid operating room system, combining 3D x-ray with optical imaging for spine, cranial and trauma surgery.
Touted as an industry-first technology, the system creates a 3D augmented view of the patient, allowing surgeons to see both internal and external anatomy.
"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," said Bragi Skúlason, MD, of the Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik, Iceland. "We can also check the overall result in 3D in the OR without the need to move the patient to a CT scanner. And all this can be done without any radiation exposure to the surgeon and with minimal dose to the patient."
A pre-clinical study published in SPINE showed an improvement in spinal screw placement, improving to 85 percent from the 64 percent achieved in traditional open spinal surgery, where a large incision allows surgeons to see the spine with their own eyes. The new Philips system also carries many benefits typical of minimally-invasive surgery, including reduced blood loss and a shorter recovery period.
This technology was developed in close conjunction with surgical champions, according to Philips.
"This unique augmented-reality technology is an example of how we expand our capabilities with innovative solutions in growth areas such as spine, neuro and trauma surgery," said Ronald Tabaksblat, business leader of Image-Guided Therapy Systems at Philips. "By teaming up with clinical innovation leaders, we continue to find ways to convert open surgery to minimally-invasive treatment to reduce post-operative pain and expedite recovery."