Real-time AR platform for complex cranial procedures (Medtronic and Surgical Theater)
In Spring 2021 AREA member Medtronic announced they were partnering with American health technology firm Surgical Theater to provide the first augmented reality (AR) platform for use in real time during complex cranial procedures. The partnership is connected with the interface between Medtronic’s StealthStation S8 surgical navigation system and Surgical Theater’s SyncAR technology.
The purpose of the collaboration is to enable neurosurgeons to use AR technology in real time to enhance visualisation during complex cranial procedures—using the SyncAR platform’s fighter-jet simulation technology to allow surgeons to visualise structures in the brain, test virtual surgical tools and plan surgeries before entering the operating room.
By integrating this technology with the StealthStation S8 cranial solution, surgeons can expand the benefits of AR and, “for the first time”, see a 360-degree AR rendering overlaid onto the live surgical site during brain surgeries. This is intended to improve precision and efficiency during these complicated procedures.
“SyncAR offers important benefits in planning and practicing how to approach complex cases, and now being able to actually use AR during procedures to see where instruments are in relation to critical structures, while never losing focus on the patient, is a significant advance,” said Thomas Steineke, board-certified neurosurgeon and chairman of the JFK Neurosciences Institute (Edison, USA).
“In neurosurgery, it is paramount to correctly identify and navigate critical brain structures. AR-enhanced visualisation interfacing with the StealthStation will help me achieve the best possible outcomes for my patients.”
According to a Medtronic statement, the treatment of brain tumours, aneurysms and neurological conditions are among the riskiest and most complex surgical procedures, and real-time access to the most detailed, patient-specific information—such as the space between vascular structures, arteries and white matter location—is critical.
“Medtronic’s partnership with Surgical Theater expands the utility of cutting-edge AR planning technology so that surgeons can use it in real-time to improve visualisation during brain surgeries, which has the potential to make procedures more precise and efficient,” said Linnea Burman, vice president and general manager for enabling technologies within Medtronic’s Cranial and Spinal Technologies business—part of the company’s neuroscience portfolio. “We are thrilled to partner with Surgical Theater as we strive to transform cranial procedures and improve outcomes by providing surgeons with access to innovative technologies.”
In addition, Surgical Theater CEO and co-founder Moty Avisar stated: “We believe by combining Medtronic’s market-leading surgical navigation, and Surgical Theater’s trailblazing visualisation capabilities, SyncAR technology now offers the most comprehensive solution for neurosurgical planning, workflow and operative execution. SyncAR technology does not stop at planning and navigation; we open the skull, provide surgeons with X-ray vision of the anatomy, and play an integral role throughout the operative workflow.”