Surgical navigation systems: What types exist?

These devices allow to reach precise levels in surgical planning, helping the surgeon by means of the three-dimensional visualization of the surgical instrument in real time, these types of devices revolutionize the digital medical technology, in itself, they are instruments that connect to screens through sensors, offering a medical image, has a specific software for the surgical function that is required to perform.

Surgical navigation systems through images such as computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, facilitates the planning and execution of operations through the guide of surgical instruments, so its use in hospitals has been on the rise, from the 1980s in neurosurgery to the date where they are applied in otolaryngology and today in a wide range of medical areas where guided surgery is required, to ensure an accurate surgical procedure, guaranteeing patient safety.

Types of surgical navigation systems.

Considering that surgical navigation systems, which guide surgical instruments, we can classify them from the technical point of view, having the possible various ways:

  • Mechanically: calculate the position with a moving-angle mechanical arm.
  • Electromagnetically: the detection of variations in magnetic fields.
  • Ultrasound: the real-time measurement of sound emissions.
  • Videoscopically: calculate the position of diodes emitting infrared light or the recognition of fixed patterns in video images.

Applications and benefits of surgical navigation systems.

  • Planning for complex surgeries.
  • Training of specialized personnel.
  • Surgeries on the brain and spine.
  • Portability and adaptability of equipment.
  • Configurable proprietary software.
  • Integration of images obtained from computed tomography and nuclear magnetic resonance.
  • Three-dimensional visualization of surgical instruments in real time.
  • Technical support and adaptation to the needs of procedures and user requirements.
  • Improved traceability and ex post verification of procedures.
  • More precise treatment for patients with neurological and lumbar pathologies, among others.

Uses of surgical navigation systems

  • They work to locate with great precision in open procedures in anatomical structures.
  • In cases of stereotactic surgery are the most suitable to resolve a medical condition.
  • In relation to a computed tomography or magnetic resonance may be used in cases of surgery of rigid anatomical structures such as: skull, long bone or vertebrae, analyzed by digitalized instruments of anatomy.
  • It favors avoiding errors, increasing patient safety and relieving the surgeon because the system is designed to work in sync with it.

Advantages of surgical navigation systems.

  • It makes surgical intervention more safe and stands out as assistant surgeon, providing security. 
  • Thanks to its integration with the computer, it is an integral part of computer-assisted operations, allowing surgical procedures using digital imaging technology. 
  • Under conditions for medical surgeons, navigation systems provide an opportunity for preoperative planning and accurate navigation of instruments during the surgical procedure.
  • In cases of ophthalmologic operations, surgical navigation systems have the ability to perform an optical monitoring, likewise favors the integration with external devices, such as microscopes and ultrasound, improving medical evaluation capabilities.
  • In the case of the patient it guarantees a softer treatment and less pain, it also offers benefits of greater precision, less time in the duration of the surgical procedure and especially at a lower cost.
  • The use of surgical navigation systems works in favor of the operating rooms of the future, where computerized integration and surgery becomes a reality.
  • The main objective of the navigation software is that the use of instruments with sensors and augmented reality manage to support the surgeon in each of the complex operations that he performs, providing more security.
  • In addition to surgical navigation systems that employ conventional imaging techniques such as CT scans or MRI scans, some manufacturers offer to develop surgical instruments that can be integrated into systems through sensors.

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