'Inner map of the body' - Navigation-assisted operations
In Switzerland, many people are operated on the paranasal sinuses and the adjacent skull base every year. Maximum safety and precision are absolute prerequisites for gentle and successful treatment of patients.
A computer-assisted navigation system, which is used in the above-mentioned operations, can be an enormous help in this. For this reason, a new navigation system has been established in ENT Sarnen, which can be used by different specialties in the future.
Similar to navigation in flying, sailing and driving a car, the surgical navigation system enables all sinuses to be reached, it measures the current position in the surgical area and is a valuable orientation aid if reference points and 'landmarks' are missing in the surgical area.
Before use, the system is 'fed' with the patient's diagnostic data, which was previously obtained during a computer or magnetic resonance tomography. Subsequently, the operating field is photo-registered with the iPad and this data is matched with the diagnostic data.
This enables a detailed orientation and representation of the anatomical structures on the screen, accurate to less than 1 mm. The navigation system provides important visual information during the operation by continuously projecting the 'map of the body' onto a large monitor and making the surgical instruments used visible in parallel.
Another advantage is that operations can be performed even more gently on the mucous membrane than before. Similarly, narrowed accesses to the paranasal sinuses can be found more quickly and gently widened with a specific attachment (balloon).
The navigation system described is so far unique in Switzerland and is currently being used by the ENT Sarnen team. The system can also be used in other disciplines. However, it in no way replaces the experience of the surgeon.