Why is Image Guided Surgery Performed?

Spine surgeons integrate advanced technologies like image guidance, intraoperative imaging and robotics into back surgery because it offers many benefits.

  • Intraoperative assessment of surgical plan and implant placement.
  • Higher accuracy during minimally invasive spine surgery compared to traditional, ‘open’ procedures (MISS).1
  • Image views of the spine, discs and nerves during surgery allow submillimetric accuracy in placement of spine implants.2
  • Intraoperative verification of planned outcomes prior to patient closure.3

Spinal navigation technologies are especially beneficial during minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). ‘Minimally invasive’ describes the different types of surgical approaches and techniques that doctors use to reduce patient morbidity. These techniques aim to reduce the size of the surgical incision and limit dissection and exposure during the procedure. Minimally invasive procedures using spinal navigation can be accomplished with a high level of accuracy and safety.1

MISS approaches are associated with reduced operative blood loss, reduced operative times, decreased rates of durotomy and fewer postoperative infections. These techniques also reduce postoperative hospitalization, and permit same-day discharge in some cases.4

Given that spinal navigation offers a high level of accuracy and safety with minimally invasive procedures, patients may experience better function and quality of life outcomes.

1 Doniel Drazin, M.D., Terrence T. Kim, M.D., David W. Polly Jr, M.D., and J. Patrick Johnson, M.D., Introduction: Intraoperative spinal imaging and navigation, Neurosurgical Focus, Mar 2014 / Vol. 36 / No. 3.
2 Image Guided Spine Surgery, Spine Universe
3 Mezger, U., Jendrewski, C., and Bartels, M., Navigation in surgery. Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2013 Apr; 398(4): 501–514.
4 Austin C. Bourgeois, Austin R. Faulkner, Alexander S. Pasciak, and Yong C. Bradley. The evolution of image-guided lumbosacral spine surgery. Ann Transl Med. 2015 Apr; 3(5): 69.