Health & Wellness

3-D Technology Enables Overlook Surgeons to Enhance Spinal Surgery Patient Outcomes

Surgeons utilizing the Meditronic O-arm intra-operative Imaging System. Credits: Atlantic Health System
SUMMIT, NJ -  Having the right information at the right time and in the right place is critical in today’s operating rooms. That's why Overlook Medical Center and Morristown Medical Center, both part of Atlantic Health System, installed the Medtronic O-arm Intra-operative Imaging System and the StealthStation Surgical Navigation System, new technology that enhances outcomes for patients who need spine surgery.
“The technological advancements we see evolving in everyday life also translate to the surgical equipment we use in the operating room,” says John J. Knightly, vice chair of neurosciences and medical director of the NeuroSpine Program at Overlook Medical Center, as well as chief of neurosurgery at Morristown Medical Center. “When applied appropriately, and by experienced users, these technological advancements enhance the safety and accuracy of spinal surgery which leads to safer surgeries and improved patient outcomes.”

The O-arm combines mobility, low-dose x-ray imaging and ultra-fast image processing to provide real-time 3-D navigation during surgery. It enables the surgeon to obtain highly detailed images of the surgical site in seconds, all without moving the patient.
The result is more accurate placement of spinal hardware, often with smaller incisions, shorter surgical time and less blood loss, muscle and tissue damage, less pain and faster recovery than is possible with older technologies.

Spine surgery is a rapidly evolving field, as more traditional large open spine surgeries continue to give way to minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgical techniques. These minimally invasive approaches have the potential to decrease blood loss, minimize trauma to surrounding tissues, and limit post-op deformities.
The safe and effective practice of these techniques requires training and a thorough knowledge of the spine and the patient’s clinical condition, and relies heavily on technological advancements in imaging.

MIS surgery is typically performed through small portals that pass through muscle without destroying it. The O-arm enables spine surgeons to navigate to the diseased area through these portals with high-definition microscopes to then visualize the affected structures.   

“The O-arm allows visualization of the intricate anatomy of the spinal segments, especially when the spine is deformed or has had previous surgery, which is crucial to the safe and effective performance of the procedure,” says Jason E. Lowenstein, MD, orthopedic surgeon and specialist in scoliosis and spinal deformity surgery at Morristown Medical Center.  “The O-arm technology gives surgeons the ability to visualize and track in real-time the position of their surgical instrumentation and thus avoid critical structures such as the spinal cord when performing complex spinal reconstruction surgery.”

Spine surgeons at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook and Medical Centers are using the integrated imaging and navigation systems for treatment planning and surgery for:

- Spinal Deformity
- MIS Spine fusion
- Spinal Trauma
- Spinal Tumors
- Revision surgery

For more information on the Spine Program at Atlantic Health System, visit

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