Dartmouth professors bring Google Maps to spine surgery: 5 insights


Even the most common procedures for spine surgeons are still complex due to tissues and bone moving during surgery.

To solve imaging and movement problems, Hanover, N.H.-based Dartmouth University professors developed a real-time tracking system to guide spine surgeons while they are operating.

Here are five insights.

1. Similar to Google Maps, the system uses a software algorithm and two cameras attached to a surgical microscope to deliver real-time 3-D images on a monitor.

2. Surgeons can then use the intraoperative stereovision system without additional radiation or labor-intensive marking of key areas on the patient's spine.

3. Dartmouth professors designed the system to provide more accurate rendering of spinal implant placement. It is expected to shave 30 minutes off surgery time.

4. This type of navigation is used in brain surgery and now for the first time being tested for spine surgery.

5. The professors published their findings in Operative Neurosurgery.

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