What Happens During Image Guided Surgery?

Pre-Operative Planning
Image guided surgery begins before any incision has been made. Computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of your spine—neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic) or lower back (lumbar)—will be taken. These scans are automatically uploaded from the hospital’s electronic health records (EHR) to the navigation system and a 3D model of your anatomy is built. Using the system software, the surgeon is able to plan and simulate the spinal procedure.

Intraoperative Image Guidance
Naturally, while your surgeon is using intra-operative image guidance technology, you will be under anesthesia. It may be interesting and perhaps comforting, however, to know the basic steps involved in an image guided spinal procedure.

Steps overview
Step 1: Patient goes under anesthesia and is positioned—on his/her back, side or stomach, depending upon the approach and surgery being performed.

Step 2: The image guidance system is used to review the surgical plan and workflow.

Step 3: The image guidance system automatically registers the patient and calibrates the patient to the images on the digital monitor.

Step 4: The surgeon reaches the spinal column through a minimally invasive incision either in the front or back, depending upon the procedure.

Step 5: The surgical intervention is performed.

Step 5:  Intraoperative imaging is used to verify that the desired outcome is achieved.

Step 6: The incision is closed and dressed.