Dr. Frank Phillips is first in the world to use augmented reality surgical guidance in minimally invasive spine surgery

June 24, 2020

CHICAGO—Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush announced today that Dr. Frank Phillips, Professor, and Director of the Division of Spine Surgery and the Section of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at Rush University Medical Center, completed the first augmented reality (AR) minimally invasive spine surgery. The Augmedics xvision™ Spine System surgical guidance system allows a surgeon to see a patient’s 3-dimensional (3D) spinal anatomy through the skin as if they have x-ray vision. Using this new technology, Dr. Phillips performed a lumbar fusion with spinal implants on a patient with spinal instability at Rush University Medical Center on June 15.

The FDA-cleared xvision system is designed to revolutionize how the surgery is done by giving the surgeon better control and visualization, which can lead to easier, faster, and safer surgeries. Dr. Phillips reports the patient, who was experiencing severe back pain and limited mobility prior to the surgery, is doing well.

“Having 3-dimensional (3D) spinal anatomic and 2-dimensional (2D) CT scan images directly projected onto the surgeon’s retina and superimposed over the surgical field takes spinal surgery to another level,” said Dr. Phillips. “Being able to place minimally invasive spinal instrumentation extremely accurately and efficiently, reducing surgical time and complication risk is critical to improving outcomes for spinal surgery. Traditional surgical navigation platforms have been shown to improve the accuracy of implant placement, however, using augmented reality allows for the advantages of traditional (non-3D) navigation plus the ability to visualize the patient's spinal anatomy in 3D through the skin.”

The xvision Spine System—developed by Chicago-based Augmedics—consists of a transparent near-eye-display headset. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools, in real-time, and a virtual trajectory is then superimposed on the patient's CT data. In a minimally invasive procedure, the 3D navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon’s retina using the headset, allowing him or her to simultaneously look at the patient and see the navigation data without averting his or her eyes to a remote screen during the procedure. In a percutaneous cadaver study, the xvision Spine System demonstrated 98.9 percent screw placement accuracy.

“When we set out to create a better navigation system, we knew it had to be intuitively designed to work within the surgical workflow and align the hands and eyes of the surgeon, eliminating the need to avert his or her eyes to an ancillary screen. Our innovative visualization technology breaks down the wall between traditional navigation and the patient,” said Nissan Elimelech, founder, and CEO, Augmedics. “Moreover, the xvision Spine System’s 3D anatomy visualization allows surgeons to accurately guide instruments and implants intraoperatively, in real-time, while looking directly at the patient, as if they had x-ray vision.”

About Augmedics

With Augmedics, the future of surgery is within sight. The Chicago-based company aims to improve healthcare by augmenting surgery with cutting edge technologies that solve unmet clinical needs and instill technological confidence in the surgical workflow. Its pioneering xvision system, the first augmented reality guidance system for surgery, allows surgeons to “see” the patient’s anatomy through skin and tissue as if they have “x-ray vision,” and to accurately navigate instruments and implants during spine procedures. Augmedics plans to explore additional surgical applications for xvision beyond spinal surgery. The system’s small footprint, economical cost, and compatibility with current instrumentation are designed to allow easy integration into any surgical facility nationwide. Augmedics is backed by Terra Venture Partners and AO Invest, a venture arm of the AO Foundation. The AO is a medically guided, not-for-profit organization, a global network of surgeons, and the world's leading education, innovation, and research organization for the surgical treatment of trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. For more information, visit www.augmedics.com.