O-Arm surgery for better backs

SAN ANTONIO(Ivanhoe Newswire) – It's called the O-Arm, and doctors say it's revolutionizing spinal surgery. The robotic arm rotates around the patient in the operating room and gives doctors a real-time, 3D look at how the surgery is progressing. 

Jonathan Duncan, an orthopedic spine surgeon at San Antonio Orthopaedic Group and Baptist Health System, said, "It's like getting a CT scan while you're still in the operating room, so that if anything is out of place, we can fix it immediately." 

The O-Arm navigation technology uses 2D and 3D technology, encircling the patient on the table. This eliminates the need to wheel the patient into radiology during or after surgery. Surgeons can literally see the patient's spine during the operation, giving them a clear, live view if changes need to be made.  

"It can also be a tool, hopefully, to prevent unnecessary surgeries or repeat surgeries or revision surgeries because of misplaced screws or spinal instruments," Duncan said.

That's Critical for patients like Louann Thompson, who endured multiple surgeries on her spine for scoliosis, degenerative disc disease and spinal deformities. 

Thompson told the Ivanhoe Newswire, "I had a very sharp, horrible pain in my left leg that left me unable to walk." 

Suffering excruciating pain, she remained bedbound for 45 days before undergoing surgery with Duncan, who inserted spacers into her discs and hardware to support her spine.  

"He went through my front and took out everything and cleaned up the front, and then they rotated me like a rotisserie chicken and did the same thing from the back," said Thompson.

This stabilized her spine to prevent further pain and degeneration. 

"My mobility is better. I feel more stable," she said.

The O-Arm also utilizes 3D navigational technology -- GPS, like in a car -- to help locate the critical points in the patient's spine. And it's all done without ever moving the patient.