Royal Philips, a leader in integrated image-guided therapy solutions, recently developed an augmented reality approach to spinal surgery, helping surgeons perform image-guided open and minimally-invasive surgery.
When placing pedicle screws, the augmented reality (AR) technology had an overall accuracy of 85%, compared to the 64% accuracy of non-AR assisted surgical navigation.
Ronald Tabaksblat, senior vice president and business leader at Philips’s Image Guided Therapy Systems, recently answered questions for MDO about this new AR assisted surgery and talked about what applications this new technology could be used for in the future.
MDO: How was this idea developed?
Tabaksblat: A group of researchers at Philips have been thinking about ways to make conventional surgery less invasive, as we have done for our interventional cardiology and radiology customers. The insight that minimally-invasive surgery required 3D imaging of the anatomy and tracking of surgical instruments was the starting point. Since the hands of the surgeon in relation to the anatomy are important, augmenting that view with imaging information was the solution. Imaging technology should be an extension of a surgeon’s hands, allowing him or her to see where they want the technology to go and seamlessly move it there. That’s why we’ve integrated this augmented view into this imaging equipment to create a seamless and easy workflow.
MDO: How soon do you think this technology could be regularly used in hospitals?
Tabaksblat: At 10 sites, the technology will be used on a regular basis in 2017. After that, we can further extend and start thinking about the commercial launch.
MDO: What other surgical applications (other than spinal, cranium and trauma) could this be used for in the future?
Tabaksblat: A logical next step is oncologic surgery, e.g. for lung. We are looking into possibilities to co-create new applications together with our customers.
MDO: How do you think augmented reality will affect the healthcare industry in the future?
Tabaksblat: It will change the way we look at surgery and create a new wave of applications where we are adding information to the natural view of the physician, but it will also allow multi-disciplinary teams work together in the operating room in new ways.
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