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Best Life: Augmented reality improving spinal surgery

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 7:00 AM CDT
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LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Augmented reality: it could be the future of surgery.

Unlike virtual reality that transports a person into another place, augmented reality is focused on what’s happening right in front of your eyes. AR, as it’s called, is giving surgeons x-ray vision.

With every press, and pull, and kick, Helen Joline, is one step closer to getting back to normal. Even driving represents a big win for her. A few months ago, Joline couldn’t even do this. Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, her back pain was becoming unbearable.

“The joints just wear out and then bone spurs occur in those joints causing further problems, cartilage disappears,” Joline told Ivanhoe.

Joline underwent a spinal fusion with augmented reality technology.

Her doctor, orthopedic surgeon Todd Allen, is one of the first to use this on spines. This is what the surgeon sees, a view from the top and side. The patient’s CT scan is superimposed.

Without augmented reality, surgeons rely on x-rays and CT images. They are looking at screens, not the patients. The difference: smaller incisions, less blood loss, less tissue dissection, lower risks from complications, and the potential for a faster recovery.

“I didn’t realize how bad I was feeling until I felt great,” said Joline.

Just a few months after surgery and she is ready to go!

“I’m feeling very strong now. My core and my back is feeling strong,” said Joline.

Strong enough to maybe even climb mountains in the future.

Dr. Allen believes augmented reality will be critical in teaching residents on how to perform these very technical spine surgeries, allowing future surgeons to see the spine as well as the trajectory of the instruments within the spine in real time, something new doctors had not been able to see before.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.

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