Doctors in Oman use augmented reality to perform crucial spinal surgery

An Omani medical team from the Armed Forces Hospital in Al Khoud succeeded in performing a spinal stabilisation surgery using augmented reality technology on a 52-year-old citizen.

The Ministry of Defence said, “The operation was performed by a medical team headed by Colonel Doctor Ahmed Al Jahuri, senior consultant and head of the Orthopaedic Department at the Armed Forces Hospital, and medical staff from the orthopaedic, anaesthesia, operations, radiology and medical engineering departments.”

Speaking about the surgery that employed cutting-edge technology, Dr Al Jahuri said, “The Armed Forces Hospital was able to use state-of-the-art technology in augmented reality as a solution for the development of minimally invasive spine surgeries.”

Dr Al Jahuri added, “In this technique, low-dose 3D CT scans are combined with optical imaging with fixed cameras, which results in the creation of a three-dimensional display of augmented reality of the patient’s internal anatomy, and this combined image acts as an exploration device that guides the surgeon in fixing the vertebrae with surgical screws in place.

“This helps us conduct surgery that is precisely defined and reduces the chance of injury to nearby sensitive tissues such as nerves and blood vessels,” he went on to say. ““Following this approach leads to increased clinical accuracy as the surgeon can be sure that the surgical instruments are in the right place before the operation and this helps the doctor reduce surgical risks, medical errors, pain, and blood loss, which leads to faster patient recovery and reduces their in the hospital, as well as cuts down on subsequent medical complications and costs.”

The technology is expected to have a significant role in enabling surgeons to perform complex operations, especially in the field of spinal curvature. Thanks to the ability to adapt augmented reality to the needs of the surgeon, doctors can focus on what is happening right in front of them.

The tech also offers surgeons direct x-ray vision into anatomical areas that are not visible to the naked eye, which makes this new technology a mainstay in the future of surgery.

Ali bin Hamdan Al Ghafri, the patient who underwent the operation, said, “I was suffering from spinal pain, and after continuous review at the Armed Forces Hospital and the necessary medical examinations, the results showed friction in some of the vertebrae of the spine, and it was decided to perform a surgery using augmented reality technology.”

“I was briefed about the details and stages of this procedure from the doctors concerned with the operation, and what encouraged me to agree to perform the procedure was the presence of an Omani medical team of high reputation and efficiency, as well as what the Armed Forces Hospital possesses in terms of advanced modern devices in the field of spine surgery.”

Hanan bint Saif, who oversees the operating theatres at the hospital, said, “Spinal operations are complex procedures that require the surgeon to be careful when dealing with the nerves and vessels connected to the spinal cord.”

“Augmented reality technology is one of the latest technologies in spine surgery,” she added. “Globally, many doctors have been able to perform this surgery using this technique.”


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