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SAF Hospital performs spinal fusion surgery using AR

25 Dec 2021 SAF Hospital performs spinal fusion surgery using AR By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – An Omani medical team from the Sultan’s Armed Forces (SAF) Hospital in Al Khoudh succeeded in using augmented reality (AR) technique to perform a spinal fusion surgery on a 52-year-old patient. The team was led by Col Dr Ahmed Saif al Jahwari, senior consultant, Head of Orthopedic Department at SAF Hospital.

Speaking about the procedure, Col Dr Jahwari said, “Advanced techniques are entering the medical field at a fast pace. They present precise solutions in surgical operations, thereby improving human intervention in assisting patients. They pave the way for the success of surgical procedures. The Orthopedic Surgery Department at SAF Hospital takes keen interest in employing such techniques in serving patients in a variety of ways, including disc fusion using augmented reality.”

He informed that the recent surgery performed by the SAF medical team combined CT scan and 3D imaging with fixed camera imaging. This, he added, creates a 3D augmented reality view of the patient’s internal anatomy. The combined image facilitates exploration and guides surgeons to fuse the vertebrae with surgical screws in a precise location, thereby reducing the chance of injury to surrounding sensitive tissues, such as nerves and blood vessels.

According to Col Dr Jahwari, this technique enhances clinical accuracy, helping doctors avoid surgical risks, minimising scope of medical error.

“Augmented reality technology focuses on what is happening right in front of the surgeon’s eyes and gives them direct X-ray view of anatomical areas that are not visible to the naked eye. This new technology sets the stage for successful surgeries and constitutes one of the main pillars of surgical medicine.”

The SAF Medical Services Department has several firsts to its credit and the recent surgery indicates that it is on track as it keeps pace with technological and scientific developments while providing the best healthcare to personnel of the SAF and other departments of the Ministry of Defence as well as the general public.

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