Special to the Journal
Palmyra Medical Center now offers computer-assisted technology for neurological, ENT, general, orthopedic and spinal surgery. This system, the first of its kind in Georgia and among 30 such units in use nationwide, was unveiled Tuesday. It is the most advanced system available for navigation and endoscopic surgery.
The hospital has constructed a complete state-of-the-art navigation suite in the operating room The suite is dedicated to surgeries that will benefit from the use of this advanced system.
Returning to Albany this past summer, Dr. Harry Weiser, a neurosurgeon with Palmyra Brain and Spine Center, approached Palmyra officials with the idea of providing a more technologically advanced system to treat patients needing neurological and other surgeries. The Stryker Navigation technology for neurological surgery uses an infrared camera and instruments along with unique tracking software to guide surgeons and their instruments through the delicate anatomy of the brain.
“It’s like having a global positioning system in the operating room,” said Dr. Weiser. “Computer-assisted technology gives us valuable and accurate information on the relative position of instruments, healthy anatomy and surgical targets. By improving the safety of the surgery it also leads to improved patient outcomes.”
Computer-assisted neurological surgery begins with CT or MRI brain scans that show the patient’s brain anatomy and reveals the location and extent of the abnormality. Scans are loaded into a workstation computer that creates a virtual 3-D model of the patient’s head. Neurosurgeons then identify “landmarks” that can be registered with the patient’s real anatomy and a determination is made about the size of incision and the angle depth of entry into the brain.
During surgery, the infrared camera communicates with the sensors mounted on the patient and instruments, with the tracking software continuously calculating and displaying the location of the surgical instruments relative to the patient’s anatomy.
“Potential benefits to the patient are numerous,” said Dr. Weiser. “They include tumor removal, brain biopsies that are conducted with a calculated trajectory and dept, smaller surgical wounds, reduced trauma to the adjacent healthy tissue, and reduced complication rates. Computer assisted technology may lessen patient morbidity, shorten hospitalization, decrease the need for intensive care, and shorten recovery time, all while potentially contributing to a reduction in cost.”
The overall benefits of the Navigation system for ENT and Orthopedic Spine surgeries are similar to those of Neurological surgery.
Dr. Chris Mann, an ENT surgeon on staff at Palmyra, has seen the navigation system in use and understands the benefits it offers.
“There are cases where having this computer assisted technology will be very valuable,” said Dr. Mann. “The navigation system will be great for complex sinus procedures where having a precise map of the patient’s anatomy will be a tremendous asset.”