Spine Navigation Surgery | UnityPoint Health Quad Cities

Spine Navigation Surgery

What is computer assisted technology for spinal surgery?

This new technology is a virtual 3-D mapping system that combines CT scans of a patient's anatomy with real-time information about the exact position of surgical instruments using infrared signals. Surgeons can navigate their surgical instruments around the spine more accurately.

How does navigation work?

Before surgery, the patient undergoes a series of CT scans that reveal the soft tissue and bony structures in and around the spine. The computer uses the images to build a 3-D model of the patient's spine that helps plan the surgery, including the size and location of implants. During surgery, the surgeon uses LED tools called Smart Active instruments to match points on the model with the patient's actual anatomy. 

A specially designed camera tracks the movement of the Smart Active instruments and displays real-time images of the instruments on the 3-D model during surgery. The computer also mathematically compensates for any patient movement.

What are the benefits of navigation?

Surgeons can see surgical instruments in relation to the spinal cord, nerves and arteries. The precise work reduces spinal injury during surgery and allows for more complicated techniques. Also, using the equipment to pre-plan the operation saves valuable time in the OR.

Who can benefit from navigation?

Image-guidance technology in all types of spinal surgery is rapidly growing. Spinal fusion surgeries alleviating pain resulting from injury, degenerative disk disease, spinal curvatures or arthritis are the most common surgeries for navigation. Most people who undergo spinal fusion surgery can have a significant reduction in pain and improvement in daily living activities. 

View the brochure on Spine Navigation Surgery here.