After the patient has had an MRI scan with markers on the skin surface for localization, the data could be processed and viewed through “virtual reality” glasses as shown above. The patient is asleep on their stomach and the surgeon can “see through” the body to view the spine. No incision has bern made. Here he seems to be placing guide-wires for pedicle screws as part of a fusion operation. That requires utmost precision, as the nerve root runs along the inner surface of the pedicle.

This system would make finding the correct spinel level in the O.R. quick and easy, but I’m not sure it would justify the cost of an extra MRI scan compared to a portable X-ray with a metal marker on the skin. If this system could reveal the presence and location of “hidden fragments” of disc during the operation, that could eliminate some surgical failures to eliminate pain.

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