The system is called Augmedics XVision Spine System. The augmented reality (AR) system allows surgeons to ‘see through' a patient's anatomy as if they have ‘x-ray' vision. This is the first AR guidance system to be used in surgery and is currently approved for use in open and minimally invasive spine implant procedures.

The first surgery using AR was done by Dr. John Anson, chief of surgery at Southern Hills Hospital.

“It's amazing. This is real time, me being able to view the actual anatomy as I'm doing surgery,” Dr. Anson said. “We still do the same operations but this allows me to make much smaller incisions and with much more precise guidance.”

Similar to a real-time GPS, this “see-through” surgery lets surgeons know exactly where to place implants in a patient's unique anatomy, and is bringing a new standard of personalization and care to the operating room. This AR system is different from other image guidance systems, as it allows surgeons to maintain their focus directly on the patient, rather than on a distant screen displaying the patient's anatomy.

“What's historic is this is the first time this technology has been used in Las Vegas,” said Alexis Mussi, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Hills Hospital. “At Southern Hills, we are passionate about providing our patients with the highest level of care and that means keeping up with the most state of the art technology. We're thankful to be able to offer this to our patients.”

The AR system consists of a transparent near-eye-display headset and all elements of a traditional navigation system. It accurately determines the position of surgical tools, in real-time, and superimposes them on the patient's CT data. The navigation data is then projected onto the surgeon's retina using the headset, allowing him or her to simultaneously look at both the patient and the navigation data.

This AR system is designed to revolutionize how surgery is done by giving the surgeon better control and visualization, which may lead to easier, faster and safer surgeries.