Image-Guided Surgery Helps Surgeons See Surrounding Anatomy and Operate Precisely

Visualization Technology's InstaTrak(R) Uses Parallax Video to Integrate Endoscopic Video with CT Scan Image Data

Surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery can now use Visualization Technology's InstaTrak® System for image-guided surgery to see surrounding anatomy during surgery and operate more precisely. InstaTrak uses Parallax Graphics' XVideo Xtra video card to bring high-quality digital video from the endoscope into the workstation for display and computer-aided vision.

Surgeons use VTI's InstaTrak System to see surrounding anatomy during minimally-invasive surgery.

What InstaTrak Does

Minimally invasive surgery is performed through natural openings such as the nose or through small surgical incisions to minimize trauma to the patient and access difficult-to-reach areas. Many kinds of surgery can be performed in a minimally invasive way: endoscopic sinus surgery, neurosurgery, spinal surgery, arthroscopic knee surgery, gall bladder removal, and hysterectomies for example.

In the past, surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery had to study their patient's anatomy using images such as computed tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before an operation. During the operation, the surgeon could see only the surface of the area visible from the tip of the endoscope, and rely on their memory and training to guess how that area related to the surrounding anatomy. And if bleeding occurred, even that monocular view was obscured.

For instance, in endoscopic sinus surgery, a surgeon may work very near the optic nerve, carotid artery, and brain, but not know exactly where these are in relation to the surgical instrument because they are hidden behind tissue. This inability to see raised the possibility of surgical errors causing loss of vision or even death. Surgery was stressful, and sometimes surgeons had to operate cautiously and perform repeat operations if the first operation did not fix the problem. This in turn raised medical costs and tied up medical personnel and expensive operating facilities.

Visible Benefits

InstaTrak gives a three-dimensional "road map" to surgeons, so that they can see not only the area at the tip of the endoscope, but also the surrounding anatomy and where their surgical instruments are. Now the surgeon can see where the optic nerve lies and where the surgical instrument is in relationship to it. This computer-aided vision gives surgeons the ability to operate with greater precision, benefiting their patients.

The InstaTrak display gives a 3D "road map" to surgeons by showing CT cross sections and live video from the tip of the endoscope.

This new technology is also expected to reduce operating time, reduce repeat surgery, and increase efficient use of surgical resources to reduce medical costs. In 100 procedures performed by 15 surgeons at Boston teaching hospitals, the InstaTrak image guidance system helped shorten surgery times by 30%.

"The InstaTrak System is the most significant development in sinus surgery since powered instrumentation," says Dr. Reuben Setliff, M.D., of Setliff Clinic. "It enhances precision, reduces the risk of sinus surgery, and brings a comfort level that was heretofore only an elusive dream."

Dr. Frederick Kuhn, Director of the Georgia Rhinology and Sinus Center, says, "I have used the InstaTrak System in each of my revision surgery cases since September, 1995. It is my hope that I will have this technology available for all my revision surgeries into the future."

How InstaTrak Works

InstaTrak uses CT scans acquired before the operation to provide the three-dimensional "road map." Patients wear a special head-set while the CT scans are taken and during the operation, so that the image data can be aligned precisely with the patientıs orientation. Before the operation, sensors are attached to the surgical instrument so that its location is tracked precisely. Endoscopic video data is also integrated in the computer system so that the surgeon can see all of the important data on screen at once.

Why Parallax Video

Visualization Technology chose Parallax Graphics video for several reasons. The InstaTrak System required Parallax's high image quality: full resolution, full-motion, and 24-bit truecolor. Visualization Technology also wanted to be able to instantly switch between the detailed display (endoscope video at full 640x480 pixel size plus several CT images showing surrounding anatomy) and endoscopic video zoomed to full-screen. Parallax's XVideo Xtra offered flexible hardware architecture (dual inputs and hardware zoom) that could support this, and the developer software to quickly build it.

InstaTrak Price and Details

InstaTrak is available for about $125,000 including Sun workstation with integrated Parallax video card, headset, aspirators, data storage, and software. Connectivity, servicing, and training sessions for CT and operating room personnel are included with purchase and are scheduled upon receipt of all purchase orders.

About Visualization Technology

The InstaTrak System was designed to make endoscopic sinus surgery a safer, more effective procedure. Visualization Technology, Inc. was established in 1993 to develop image guided devices for medical and surgical use. Visualization Technology received United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for ear, nose, and throat applications in 1996. The experienced, dedicated team at Visualization Technology uses the latest methods in high technology research and development to bring innovative products to this rapidly emerging medical field. Visualization Technology is located in Woburn, Massachusetts.

For more information on InstaTrak or Visualization Technology, please contact Sandra Tollos at Visualization Technology at stollos@vitech.com stollos@vitech.com, 781-938-8920 ext. 233, or (US toll-free) 800-708-3856 ext. 233.

InstaTrak is a registered trademark of Visualization Technology, Inc.

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