Since the mid-1990s, surgeons have been using surgical navigation to visualize patient anatomy.1 These computerized systems are designed to help assess a patient case, plan the surgery and actually mirror the real human anatomy on screen – helping to guide the surgeon through important surgical steps taken during the procedure.
Neurosurgery was the first surgical discipline to adopt navigation and successfully incorporate it into clinical routine.2 Image guided systems have been used in neurosurgery for more than 20 years now, making them an established and well-known addition to brain surgery. Today, surgeons use image guided systems also as teaching tools, to conduct remote consultations and to consult from far away.
While image guided surgery has been instrumental in the development of ‘robotic’ technologies, the navigation system does not take the place of your doctor, but is rather a guiding tool used during surgery. Surgical navigation enables your doctor to plan your procedure before surgery and helps guide the surgeon’s instruments during surgery, supporting the resection or debulking of your tumor.
Is Image Guided Surgery subject to FDA approval?
There are several FDA-cleared neuronavigation systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring public safety by regulating medical devices. Surgical navigation systems are considered medical devices and therefore are subject to review and clearance by FDA.
Is Image guided surgery covered by insurance?
Image guided surgery for brain tumors has been in existence long enough to be covered by many insurance companies. In addition, IGS may be built into the total cost for the procedure but like any major procedure, will be subject to pre-approval with your insurance company. Work with your neurosurgeon’s staff who will check with your insurance company before proceeding with image guided surgery.