Metro Health introduces AR spinal surgery platform

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The xvision Spine System is an augmented reality guidance system that allows surgeons to “see through” a patient’s anatomy during surgery. Courtesy Metro Health-University of Michigan Health

Metro Health-University of Michigan Health now is offering spine surgery using the Augmedics xvision Spine System.

The xvision Spine System is an augmented reality guidance system that allows surgeons to “see through” a patient’s anatomy during surgery. The system is designed to revolutionize how surgery is done by giving the surgeon better visualization and control, which may lead to safer, easier and more efficient surgical procedures.

“The xvision Spine System is the first AR guidance system to be used in surgery, and we are excited to offer this to our patients at Metro Health,” said Dr. Ronald Grifka, chief medical officer of Metro Health. “Xvision is groundbreaking technology that we feel will be a real game changer for our patients.”

Similar to a real-time GPS technology, this “see-through” surgery allows surgeons to know exactly where to place implants in a patient’s unique spine anatomy. The xvision Spine System is different from other image guidance systems, as it allows surgeons to maintain their focus directly on the patient, rather than searching for a distant screen displaying the patient’s anatomy.

“It utilizes a heads up retina display similar to military fighter jet technology, allowing the surgeon to visualize the patient’s anatomy through the skin as if they have x-ray vision,” said Dr. John Keller, neurosurgery section chief at Metro Health.

The xvision Spine System consists of a transparent near eye-display headset and all the elements of a traditional navigation system. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools in real time and superimposes them on the patient’s CT images.

The navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina using the headset, allowing them to simultaneously look at both the patient and the navigation data.

Keller successfully performed his first surgery using xvision on Sept. 21. There are currently three surgeons who operate at Metro Health who have been trained and are actively using the system.

Purchase of the $179,055 system was made possible due to funding from the Metro Health Hospital Foundation, which covered 100% of the cost.

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