Augmented reality in spine — Where we stand and what's to come

Alan Condon -   Print  |

Augmented reality-assisted spine surgery became a reality in June when two neurosurgeons from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore performed a pair of spine procedures with a new FDA-approved device.

Six things to know about AR in spine:

1. Neurosurgeons Daniel Sciubba, MD, and Timothy Witham, MD, performed the first AR-assisted spine surgeries with the Augmedics Xvision Spine System, which allows for real-time 3D visualization of the spinal anatomy during surgery.

2. Augmedics, a Chicago-based startup, received FDA clearance for its Xvision Spine System in December, and plans to research additional surgical applications for the system. 

3. The system features a headset designed to function as if the surgeon has X-ray vision into the patient's anatomy to accurately navigate instruments and implants while looking at the patient instead of a screen.

4. Nevada spinal neurosurgeon James Lynch, MD, was reportedly the first physician in private practice to use the Xvision Spine System. "It has all the advantages of a neuronavigation platform, yet it's more cost-effective for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, especially in this current climate."

5. Interest in AR has grown significantly in spine over the past decade, coming from a desire to limit complications associated with instrumented spine surgery and improve procedural efficiency.

6. The accuracy and reproducibility of the technology will become more evident over time, according to Mark Mikhael, MD, of NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute and Illinois Bone & Joint Institute in Chicago. Future applications may seek to further improve its navigational capabilities and facilitate the placement of pedicle screws with robotic systems.  

More articles on spine:
19 spine facilities opening in 2020
153+ ASCs with spine surgery | 2020
DePuy Synthes, AO Foundation extend 60-year orthopedic partnership

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