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Ground breaking robotic microscope now in Australia for spinal surgery

Ground breaking robotic microscope now in Australia for spinal surgery article image

A fully-automated, robotically-controlled, digital microscope that increases visibility, accuracy and precision for better safety during spinal surgery is now in operation at Brisbane Private Hospital.

The Modus V Microscope, the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, has a robotic arm that is powered by the same technology that is used on the international space station.

A major advancement on former surgical technologies, the microscope’s arm and specialised pointer tracks the movement of surgical instruments and positions a high-resolution, digital camera in the surgical field.

Leading spine surgeon Dr Paul Licina has performed the first procedures using the microscope.

The state-of-the-art equipment has already been used in nine operations and is expected to initially help an average of six spinal patients per week before being used in other disciplines.

The Modus V Microscope is used primarily for patients with common problems of back pain, pinched nerves and worn-out discs, and also more complex conditions such as scoliosis.

The Modus V has a magnification level of 12.5 X optical zoom, allowing surgeons to discern critical anatomy at high levels of superior magnification. Each joint of the surgical robot has 200 degrees of rotation per axis, allowing some extreme surgical positions and near-impossible viewing angles during surgeries.

Education and training

In addition to supplying high definition imagery, the microscope records all surgical procedures, providing content that can be used for educational and training purposes.

Brisbane Private Hospital CEO Claire Gauci said the $1 million Modus V Microscope was a coup for the hospital – the first facility in the Southern Hemisphere to purchase the state-of-the-art technology.

The new equipment would help to advance surgical precision and post-operative patient outcomes, Gauci said.

“As a specialised spinal facility, Brisbane Private Hospital has the operational load to ensure the Modus V is in regular use and we have the theatre size to accommodate this world-leading technology.

“Modus V displays the surgical field on a large screen, providing the whole surgical team with a global view of the patient’s spine or brain. It provides advanced visualization of the patient’s critical anatomy to enhance a surgeon’s decision-making and delivers better patient outcomes.”

Dr Licina said the Modus V had a magnification level of 12.5 X optical zoom allowing a surgeon to discern critical anatomy at high levels of magnification (around 10 microns).

Advancement on previous technology

“On average a normal red blood cell will have a diameter of around 6-8 microns, or a human hair will have a cross section of around 50 microns. With the use of Modus V, I can visualize critical anatomy, in extremely high resolution, that can be otherwise invisible to the human eye, and that is an advancement on the previous technology we were using in theatre.

“The ergonomics of the Modus V allow me to operate with less fatigue and greater safety because it has the ability to recognise memory positions and automatically move back to them during a surgery if required, eliminating my need to stop operating in order to constantly re-position the microscope.

“It also has the ability to track and focus on surgical instruments I am using, and to follow my movements intuitively, providing superb, clear image quality that means less operating time and a better result for patients.”

Ms Gauci said the microscope will initially be used for spinal surgeries with Dr Licina and will later expand its use to a range of surgical procedures.

Brisbane Private Hospital treats over 20,000 patients each year with the assistance from 700 visiting medical officers and a dedicated team of 500 healthcare professionals.

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