When a surgeon performs spine surgery through a small incision i.e. minimally invasively, he can see less of the spine than if he’d made a big incision. However, in recent years a remarkable new technology, called image guidance technology, has been developed to enable surgeons to “see” inside the body, even without making an incision.
The best way to understand image guidance technology is to think of the GPS systems that are used in cars. We all know that a GPS system can identify exactly where our car is located, even when it is moving! We take it for granted, but it is amazingly clever! Well, image guidance technology is similar to a GPS system for the body.
An image guidance system usually consists of:
- Scans of the patient’s body (CTs and / or MRIs)
- Special surgical instruments that typically emit LED signals (ie light emitting diodes)
- Highly advanced computers and cameras that can communicate with the instruments.
These elements all work together to show on a screen, in real-time, exactly where the surgical instruments are inside the patient’s body. Thus, the surgeon can “see” inside, despite there not being a large incision.
Dr. Rahman uses image guidance technology in many of his surgical procedures to help ensure the best possible surgical outcomes for his patients.