Researchers at Dartmouth College have found a way to make back surgery safer, faster and more cost effective.
MRIs and CT scans help surgeons identify spine problems, like compressed vertebrae or herniated disks, but finding a clear path to those problem areas is not always as straightforward. Tissue and bone not only stand in the way, they can also move during spinal surgery, rendering a CT scan taken prior to surgery much less accurate.
To solve this problem, Dartmouth professors from the Thayer School of Engineering and the Geisel School of Medicine developed a 3-dimensional, real-time optical tracking system to guide back surgeons as they operate, like a Google Maps for the body, according to findings published in the journal Operative Neurosurgery.
Using a complex software algorithm and two cameras attached to a surgical microscope, the system produces real-time 3-dimensional digitized images on a monitor, according to the study. This type of tracked, calibrated stereoscopic camera system has been extensively used in brain surgery but until now has been unexplored for use in spinal surgery...MORE