Image: The VisAR system is a major step towards making precision surgical guidance generally available and economically viable (Photo courtesy of Novarad)
Most operations are performed without navigation due to cost and setup time constraints. Now, an augmented reality surgical navigation system that has received FDA 510(k) approval for precision-guided intraoperative spinal surgery marks a major step toward making precision surgical guidance widely available and economically viable.
VisAR, an augmented reality surgical navigation system from Novarad Corporation (Provo, UT, USA), transforms a patient’s image data into a three-dimensional hologram that is visible through an optical sight and is placed on the patient with sub-millimetre accuracy. This allows the surgeon to focus directly on the surgical target without looking away at a separate monitor. Novarad has partnered with Microsoft (Redmond, WA, USA) to leverage turnkey augmented reality headset technology that delivers lower costs and the ability to leverage expected hardware improvements.
VisAR is an end-to-end solution with pre-surgical planning, virtual annotations, segmentation and bi-directional image connectivity. It features integrated 2D and 3D navigation displays with continuous hologram-to-patient tracking. VisAR technology uses in-image CT marks for automatic registration. Operating room setup time is less than two minutes. Surgical accuracy is less than 2 mm for pedicle screw placement in both open and minimally invasive surgical (MIS) procedures.
The untethered wirelessly connected Microsoft HoloLens 2 visor worn by the clinician results in the smallest OR footprint of any system on the market. No other navigation equipment is needed. VisAR is built on the Novarad imaging technology solution stack that provides interoperability, HIPAA compliance, image management, and deep security. VisAR is currently available in the US and use in other countries is expected in the coming months.
“This is transformational technology that offers the precision of a robot, the portability of a stethoscope, and the versatility of human-powered intelligence,” said Dr. Wendell Gibby, CEO of Novarad and co-creator of VisAR. “Like a surgical GPS, VisAR provides a roadmap to direct the surgeon to the pathology of interest.”
“My first impression of the technology, when you put it on and saw real patient images appear, was, ‘This is amazing. This is groundbreaking, revolutionary technology.’ It’s hard to explain,” added University of Utah neurosurgeon Michael Karsy, MD PHD.