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Augmented Reality Headset Gives Surgeons "X-Ray Vision" During Procedures

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 10 Jul 2024

Orthopedic surgeons typically use 2D X-ray guidance for spinal surgeries, which carries a risk of screw misplacement due to the lack of 3D visualization of the spine. Occasionally, although not frequently, a patient may need to return to the operating room for the correction of an imperfectly placed screw. Now, a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) technology allows surgeons to see patients’ anatomy as if they have “X-ray vision”, enabling them to accurately navigate instruments and implants during spinal procedures.

The xvision Spine System from Augmedics (Arlington Heights, IL, USA) is the first AR navigation system approved by the FDA for use in both open and minimally invasive spine implant surgeries. This advanced technology allows surgeons to maintain visual contact with the patient, improving visualization, control, and accuracy during operations. Unlike other imaging guidance systems that require surgeons to look away at a screen displaying the patient's anatomy, the xvision Spine System keeps the surgeon's attention on the patient at all times. This system is designed to transform surgical practices by providing superior control and visualization, potentially making surgeries easier, faster, and safer.


Image: The xvision Spine System is the first AR navigation system approved by the US FDA for surgery (Photo courtesy of Augmedics)
Image: The xvision Spine System is the first AR navigation system approved by the US FDA for surgery (Photo courtesy of Augmedics)

The xvision Spine System includes a transparent near-eye-display headset and incorporates all the elements of a conventional navigation system. It precisely tracks the position of surgical tools in real-time and overlays this information onto the patient’s CT data. The navigational data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina through the headset, enabling them to view both the patient and the navigation data simultaneously. In minimally invasive procedures, the technology facilitates real-time, accurate guidance of instruments and implants with 3D visualization, all while allowing the surgeon to keep their focus directly on the surgical site. Additionally, using the xvision Spine System can reduce the surgeon's exposure to radiation. To date, the xvision Spine System has been used in over 6,500 patients and has facilitated the implantation of more than 35,000 pedicle screws across 24 US states.

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