Doctors at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center have made history by performing the world’s first spinal surgery using augmented reality (AR) and a surgical robot. The patient, a 25-year-old man, suffered an unstable spine fracture that put him at immediate risk for paralysis and other severe neurological damage. He was admitted to the emergency department after falling from a height at his workplace.
The surgery involved using AR-assisted imaging of the fractured spine, guided by a surgical spine robot. This allowed the team to apply surgical screws in an extremely precise fashion along the spinal column, reestablishing the connection between the patient’s skull and his spine. The procedure, which lasted several hours, was successful and the patient was able to walk without pain two days later.
What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality is an interactive experience that enhances the real world with computer-generated perceptual information. Using software, apps, and hardware such as special glasses, AR overlays digital content onto real-life environments and objects. This enriches the user experience and turns the immediate surroundings into an interactive learning environment that is revolutionizing the way companies manufacture, improve and distribute their products.
In the medical field, AR can be used to provide surgeons with real-time information and guidance during complex procedures. For example, AR can display a 3D model of the patient’s anatomy, vital signs, surgical tools, and instructions on a transparent screen or glasses. This can help surgeons to perform more accurately, safely, and efficiently.
How does the surgical spine robot work?
The surgical spine robot is a device that assists surgeons in performing spinal surgeries. The robot is controlled by a computer that receives data from various sources, such as CT scans, X-rays, and AR images. The robot then uses this data to plan and execute the optimal trajectory for inserting screws or other implants into the spine. The robot can also adjust to the patient’s movements during the surgery, ensuring accuracy and stability.
The surgical spine robot can reduce the risks of complications, infections, bleeding, and radiation exposure during spinal surgeries. It can also shorten the duration of the surgery and the recovery time for the patient.
A milestone for Israeli medicine
The surgery at Shaare Zedek Medical Center was the first of its kind in the world, combining AR and robotic technologies to treat a life-threatening spinal injury. The surgery was performed by Dr. Cezar Mizrahi, a neurosurgeon at the hospital’s spine surgery department, who said that he was proud to be part of this innovation.
“This is a breakthrough in the field of spinal surgery and a milestone for Israeli medicine,” he said. “We are happy to offer our patients the most advanced and cutting-edge treatments available.”
The hospital’s director-general, Prof. Ofer Merin, also praised the achievement and said that it reflects the hospital’s vision of excellence and innovation.
“We are constantly striving to provide our patients with the best care possible, using state-of-the-art technologies and techniques,” he said. “This surgery is a testament to our commitment to saving lives and improving quality of life.”