In the operating rooms of Humanitas Neuro Center, specialists may make use of double imaging. This is just one, among the technologies that aid spinal surgery, as Doctor Maurizio Fornari, Supervisor of Neurosurgery at Humanitas, and Doctor Francesco Costa, neurosurgeon, explained on April, 19 in an interview for the TGR program “Good morning, Lombardy region”.
Specialists may use at the same time, virtual and dynamic images of the vertebral column obtained via MRI before the surgery, and static TC images captured during the surgery. Their blending, along with computer-assisted surgical navigation, allows an unprecedented vision of the lesion and the area affected by the surgery.

“This navigation allows the surgeon to be anatomically precise in locating the tumor. For example, in the case of intramedullary tumors, that are really delicate due to their position. It also allows to minimize surgical insults on the bone marrow itself”, Doctor Francesco Costa, neurosurgeon at Humanitas, explains.

The advantages of image blending

“This image blending is particularly effective on spinal cord primitive tumors, but also on vertebral primitive tumors. It makes targeted approaches possible, and the radicality gets more precise even during the surgery. Moreover, it avoids damages to functionally crucial structures, such as nerves or blood vessels. In fact, the spine, especially in the cervical and lumbo-sacral area, is surrounded by extremely delicate arteries and veins”, Doctor Maurizio Fornari, Supervisor of Neurosurgery at Humanitas, points out.

3D computer-based operation planning

“New technologies, open up new avenues for the treatment of discs and vertebras, to correct spine bends created by age and degenerative diseases.
One of the most effective tools is the 3D computer operation planning”, as Doctor Costa explains. “We import the patient’s exam into a software which then tests different types of osteotomy, in order to evaluate their possible result before operating the patient.
Technological implementations help a lot to further progress. There are still hard to safely reach anatomical areas, but navigation, intraoperative imaging and soon robotic spinal surgery, will minimize these limits and increase the therapeutic and surgical choices”, Doctor Costa says.