The whole surgical procedure is intended to minimize minimal radiation exposure for the patient and to avoid radiation exposure for the surgeon altogether. “This is also very important for us,” says Dr. Elmi Terander. “Safety of patients and staff is obviously a top priority.” Breaking down boundaries
While working on this innovation project, Dr. Elmi Terander has seen specialists from different disciplines within Karolinska come together. “Over the last year, we have had a very fruitful collaboration with our colleagues in orthopedics, performing surgery together,” he says.
“Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons bring different strengths to the operating room: neurosurgeons excel in high-precision work, whereas orthopedics are highly visual 3D thinkers. With this new surgical navigation technology, we can combine these strengths to achieve better outcomes for patients. I am also very happy about the way we work together with our neuroradiologists. I think this project is a prime example of what Karolinksa is trying to achieve with its new operating model: breaking down internal boundaries to deliver the best possible care.” Looking forward
As a next step, Karolinska will be working closely with Philips to further develop the new augmented reality technology. Dr. Elmi Terander and his team will also start looking at other possible applications. “So far, we have focused on spinal surgery. But when you’re operating on a brain tumor, for example, you also need to know exactly where you are with your instruments. It’s still early days, but I envision a future in which this kind of technology will be used in all parts of the body that require high-precision navigation.”  Pedicle screw placement using augmented reality surgical navigation with intraoperative 3D imaging: a first in-human prospective cohort study (SPINE, An International Journal for the study of the spine, September 2018) Disclaimer: the solution described in this article is not available in the USA.