UT Physicians Sinus Surgeons Use Augmented Reality Technology During Minimally Invasive Sinus Procedures.

“Augmented reality, which uses 3-D mapping and imagery, enhances our understanding of complex anatomy so surgical procedures are more precise,” said Martin J. Citardi, MD, chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). “The addition of augmented reality to a surgical navigation serves as a GPS-like system and offers patients the benefits of minimally invasive surgery with lower risks and better outcomes.”

Dr. Citardi performed revision image-guided functional endoscopic sinus surgery for recurrent chronic rhinosinusitis at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. In addition, the patient also had a fibro-osseous lesion blocking drainage from the left frontal sinus. “This was a complicated case. By using this technology, we were able to plan a pathway to drain that blocked frontal sinus and avoid the need for a more extensive procedure,” Dr. Citardi observed. He believes that the augmented reality technology has the potential to improve many types of sinus procedures, including those performed for chronic rhinosinusitis, sinonasal polyps and even tumors.

Performed with Stryker’s Scopis Target Guided Surgery (TGS) technology, the system gives surgeons the tools to plan pathways and critical structures in preoperative medical imaging scans. During surgery, this planning is overlaid onto the surgeon’s endoscopic view of the surgical area. The system assists the surgeon in following the defined pathway and avoiding critical structures. “During surgery, we can see how close we are to our surgical target in millimeters or see our path along a trajectory,” Dr. Citardi said. “This enhances our surgical precision and minimizes potential damage to structures nearby and reduces some of the mental gymnastics needed to navigate complex anatomy.”

“This system also allows easy recording of both the surgery and surgical planning. Such digital content will be important for training of surgeons in the difficult area of endoscopic sinus surgery. This will ultimately benefit patients,” said Citardi.