Orthopedic surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital are the first in the state to use a new surgical guidance system that will enable more accurate, efficient placement of spinal instrumentation in complex spine reconstructive procedures. Called FluoroNav, or “GPS for the spine,” the system allows surgeons to place orthopedic screws more efficiently, and also reduces the amount of X-ray radiation exposure to patients.
“This technology allows real time monitoring of hardware insertion using three dimensional models of the spine, so that screws can be safely placed even in the smallest of areas,” said Mark Palumbo, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital. “We use FluoroNav in orthopedics for spinal surgeries, but it can also be used for real time imaging in several types of surgeries including tumor resection, pelvic reconstructions, trauma cases and many others.”
During a spinal fusion surgery, surgeons typically use multiple X-rays to ensure that each surgical screw is placed correctly, but these are not always accurate and are usually done after leaving the operating room. The FluoroNav system allows the surgeon to place a marker on to the patient to show the preferred location of each screw. The system then produces a real-time scan using much less radiation, and provides the surgical team with a 3-D model of the spine to see all the surgical screws at once. This 3-D model provides for better accuracy and efficiency and better protects both the patient and the surgeon.
While the FluoroNav technology can be used in both adult and pediatric cases, it can be particularly helpful in pediatric surgeries because the operating field is much smaller than that of an adult.
“Orthopedic spine surgery in children can be challenging, as the areas that screws must be placed are often underdeveloped or much smaller than the same areas in an adult,” said Craig Eberson, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. “This technology can assist in better visualizing the placement of screws in a much smaller operating field, and ensures that everything is placed perfectly before we leave the operating room.”
FluoroNav can also help with difficult cases where other views would be obstructed or difficult to reach, such as scoliosis or kyphosis, an over-curvature of the spine. The system is portable and can be moved among the hospital’s pediatric and adult operating rooms as needed.
For more information about orthopedic surgery at Rhode Island Hospital, please visit www.orthoinstitute.org and at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, please visit www.hasbrochildrenshospital.org/orthopedics.html.