Karolinska University Hospital announces first clinical use of augmented-reality surgical navigation technology for image-guided spine surgery

The first clinical cases using a new surgical navigation system have been successfully treated at Karolinska University Hospital.Collaboration between Karolinska University Hospital and innovation partner Philips aims to combine clinical insights, innovative image-guidance technologies and new navigation concepts to enable more precise surgery.

The technology uses high-resolution optical cameras mounted on the flat panel X-ray detector to image the surface of the patient. It then combines the external view captured by the cameras and the internal 3D view of the patient acquired by the X-ray system to construct a 3D augmented-reality view of the patient’s external and internal anatomy. This real-time 3D view of the patient’s spine in relation to the incision sites in the skin aims to improve procedure planning, surgical tool navigation and implant accuracy.

 “This new technology allows us to use augmented reality in combination with 3D imaging for intraoperative surgical planning and navigation of our devices. We have now treated four patients using the system and placed 44 pedicle screws with satisfactory results. We have been able to check the overall result in 3D in the OR without the need to move the patient to a CT scanner. The radiation dose to the staff is zero and minimal to the patient.” said Dr Adrian Elmi Terander,MD, PhD, Principal Investigator at Karolinska University Hospital. “We tested this workflow pre-clinically for complex thoracic and cervical spine surgeries with very convincing results and look forward to extending it to complex cerebral neurosurgical procedures.”

The current clinical study is conducted in collaboration between Neurosurgery, Orthpedics and Neuroradiology departments at Karolinska University Hospital and Philips. The results of the first pre-clinical study on the technology have been published in the scientific journal SPINE. The technology was shown to be superior in respect to overall accuracy, compared to pedicle screw placement without the aid of augmented-reality surgical navigation technology (85% vs 64%).

Karolinska University Hospital is one of the world’s leading academic hospitals, and its new site will reinforce its position in the field of highly specialized medical care. As part of a joint clinical research program, Philips hybrid ORs with this new capability will be installed in a network of ten clinical collaborators to advance the technology. With further development the system will be used in other surgical fields such as minimally invasive surgery, cranial neurosurgery, orthopedics and trauma.

Kim Sjölund
Tf Presschef
072-598 13 88                                  

Karolinska is one of Europe's largest university hospitals and together with Karolinska Institutet we have a leading role within the field of medical breakthroughs. Our aim is to always put the patient first by providing the best possible medical expertise, treatment and care. Through innovation and active collaboration with industry and academia, we are committed to being internationally prominent in medicine, research and education.

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