Advances in Spine Surgery: New Tech Promises to Revolutionize Imaging
Developing Better Diagnostics
Essential to any surgical procedure—especially one involving the spine—is proper and effective diagnosis. Specialists need to know exactly what’s going wrong and where they should target. Currently, there are a range of imaging approaches used—everything from X-ray to MRI—but a new technology promises to make things even better: the OpenSight Augmented Reality System by Utah-based company, Novorad.  This novel device has recently been cleared for use by the FDA, so it won’t be long before you see it in surgery wards.
If the hype is to be believed, this new approach will reduce operative times and increase accuracy of diagnosis and streamline presurgical planning. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this such a potentially groundbreaking advance.
Real Time Anatomy
The beauty of the OpenSight Augmented Reality System is that it allows for imaging to occur on the anatomy itself. Using a HoloLens headset, interactive 2D or 3D images of the spine are projected onto the body itself; it’s a little like opening a window into the body.  Rather than relying on static images—as a doctor might with an X-ray—this tool allows the affected area to be viewed in real-time. And unlike virtual-reality, this technology allows the doctor to view both the image and the patient him or herself, so it’s less disorienting.
In addition, multiple doctors can use the OpenSight System at the same time, allowing for easier collaboration and improved training. With this highly-interactive imaging approach, surgeons get a fuller sense of the scope of the problem and can assess the problem area as it actually appears. In addition, the interactivity of the system allows for the impact of surgical approaches to be assessed prior to the procedure.
A Big Step Forward
There’s little doubt that this technology has the potential to radically improve outcomes for spine surgery patients. It streamlines the process of diagnosis and provides a more accurate representation of what’s going on in the body. The better the quality of the information that the doctor has to work with, the better the results of treatment for back pain sufferers. “This is transformative technology that will unite preoperative imaging with augmented reality to improve the precision, speed and safety of medical procedures,” says Dr. Wendell Gibby, Novarad CEO and co-creator of OpenSight. 
With its FDA approval, we should start seeing technology like the OpenSight System incorporated more and more in surgery wards. Advances like this are always exciting; spine surgery has come a long way over the last decade, and it seems like it’ll continue to get more refined and effective. Given that back pain is the number one source of disability worldwide, this is good news for countless sufferers.
Imagining Imaging in the Future
Like many fields, medicine is in a constant state of renewal and innovation. There’s always going to be room for improvement, and technologies like the OpenSight System certainly pave a way for the path forward. And while there’s more work for researchers and innovators to do, it’s important to note that treatments now are very effective and less-invasive than they’ve ever been.
If you live with back pain, it’s definitely worth thinking about treatment. You owe it to yourself to live a life free of suffering and discomfort. The first step in taking on your condition is seeking out help; with the right experts, your back pain can be a thing of the past.
The experts at North American Spine specialize in the latest approaches and techniques to ensure positive outcomes for back pain patients. Take the first step in managing and resolving your condition by talking to a Patient Care Manager at one of these outpatient clinics. These professionals will be with you all the way through the process. Find out more by calling 469-638-0208 today!
- “FDA Approves First Microsoft Hololens Augmented Reality System For Surgical Use”. 2018. Health Imaging. Accessed November 7 2018. https://www.healthimaging.com/topics/advanced-visualization/fda-approves-augmented-reality-system-microsoft-hololens?fbclid=IwAR3JXGv0B-i_et8d62uDO6DnQFuBoZcsCjJEQBuoJVO
- Business Wire. 2018. “Novarad’S Opensight Augmented Reality System Is The First Solution For Microsoft Hololens 510(K) Cleared By The FDA For Medical Use”. Com. Accessed November 7 2018. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181024005714/en/Novarad%E2%80%99s-OpenSight-Augmented-Reality-System-Solution-Microsoft.