In the operating theatres of the Humanitas Neurology Center specialists can make use of double imaging: this is just one of the technologies that help spinal surgery, as explained by Dr. Maurizio Fornari, Head of Neurosurgery at Humanitas, and Dr. Francesco Costa, neurosurgeon, in a service on Buongiorno Regione Lombardia within the TGR, aired last April 19.
The specialists have at their disposal both the virtual and dynamic images of the spinal column obtained with MRI performed before the operation and the static CT images captured during the operation. Their overlap, together with computer assisted navigation surgery, allows for an unprecedented view of the lesion and the area involved in the operation.
“This navigation allows anatomical precision that helps to identify the tumor, as is the case for example with intramedullary tumors, which are very delicate given the location, and to minimize surgical insults on the medulla itself,” explains Dr. Francesco Costa, neurosurgeon in Humanitas.
The advantages of merging images
“This fusion of images is particularly effective on primary spinal cord tumors, but also on primary spinal tumors. It allows a more targeted approach and its radicality is already being confirmed with greater precision during the operation. It also avoids damage to functionally very important structures, such as nerves or vessels: the column, in fact, especially in the cervical segment, but also in the lumbar-sacral segment, is surrounded by extremely delicate arterial and venous vascular structures,” adds Dr. Maurizio Fornari, Head of Neurosurgery at Humanitas.
3D computerized planning for interventions
Thanks to technological innovation, new ways are also opened up in the treatment of discs and spines for the correction of curvatures of the spine due to age and degenerative diseases.
One of the most effective tools is the 3D computerized planning of the surgery, as Dr. Costa explains: “The patient’s examination is imported into one software and simulates, for example, one type of osteotomy compared to another, to evaluate the possible result before the surgery is performed”.
“Evolutions will continue and technological implementations will help a lot. To date there are some anatomical limitations that are a little more difficult to reach safely, but with navigation, with intraoperative imaging, and with robotic surgery applied to spinal surgery in the near future, these limitations will be minimized and the therapeutic and surgical choices will be expanded,” concludes Dr. Costa.
Watch the full interview from minute 22.45