LAS VEGAS (FOX5/KVVU) — In a first for the Las Vegas area, spinal surgery is now being done using augmented reality.
Only a small number of hospitals in the country have the technology and Southern Hills Hospital is now one of them. Augmented reality is being used to perform spinal surgery at the southwest Las Vegas Valley hospital.
The goal of augmented reality surgery is to accomplish the same result as traditional surgery without having to open up the patient, instead going in through a small hole.
It’s giving doctors “X-ray” vision of sorts. A surgeon wears a headset with a camera during the surgery and an augmented reality picture of the patient’s body is displayed in front of them, allowing them to know exactly where to perform surgery in real time. That means they can look at what’s going on inside a patient without having to completely open them up.
During traditional procedures, surgeons usually have to make a large incision and expose the spine to place screws or rods but now they can place the same hardware working through the small hole.
“Through little tubes in the skin we are putting in screws and instrumentation but through … my goggles I can actually see a 3-D image of the patent’s spine superimposed right on their body,” said Southern Hills Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. John Anson.
Doctors said it’s a big change and big improvement resulting in better outcomes and much quicker, easier recoveries.
Right now, the technology is only being used in the lower spine but eventually doctors at Southern Hills Hospital said they hope to use it in higher parts of spine such as the neck.
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