What are the advantages of image-guided surgery?
Because of the precision that image-guided surgery technology provides, surgeons are able to create an exact, detailed plan for the surgery — where the best spot is to make the incision, the optimal path to the targeted area, and what critical structures must be avoided. The technology allows surgeons to view the human body — a dynamic, three-dimensional structure itself — in real-time 3D.
The technology creates images that allow surgeons to see the abnormality, such as a brain tumor, and distinguish it from surrounding healthy tissue. It also enables them to manipulate the 3D view in real-time during surgery. The constant flow of information helps surgeons make minute adjustments to ensure they are treating the exact areas they need to treat.
How does it benefit patients?
The technology aids in shortening operating times, decreasing the size of the patient’s incision, reducing the procedure’s invasiveness — all of which can lead to better patient outcomes and faster recoveries.
Image-guided surgery also provides new alternatives for patients with multiple medical problems, patients who may not be able to tolerate large, invasive surgeries, and patients whose conditions in the past would have been considered inoperable.
How does the technology work?
Medtronic, the world’s leading medical technology company, has developed several revolutionary image-guided surgical systems that are used in brain, spinal, ear/nose/throat and orthopedic surgeries. As of July 2001, there are more than 650 StealthStation® treatment guidance systems in use around the world.
Each system involves the same basic principles:
Prior to an image-guided operation, the patient undergoes diagnostic testing such as a CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). These images are then converted into 3D images showing the patient’s organs, muscles, tissue and nerves. This is the information surgeons use to plan the operation.
When surgery begins, the 3D images are synchronized with real-time information provided by light emitting diode (LED) cameras within the operating room. By matching the pre-surgery information to the patient’s real anatomy, surgeons can manipulate the view to see precisely what they need to see. It also allows them to track instruments during the surgery, including the position of the instrument and the angle at which it is entering the body — side to side, up and down and back and forth — with tremendous precision.
Image-guided surgery has revolutionized traditional surgical techniques by providing a precise treatment guidance system that can help ensure the safety of vital structures, while providing the best outcome for patients.
Learn more about Computer Assisted Surgery