The neurosurgical team of Hamad General Hospital at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) successfully performed a surgical procedure to remove a cancerous spinal tumour for an elderly patient using modern technology called Augmented Reality with Electronic Navigation.

This was the first time that this modern technology was used in Qatar and the Middle East, supported by NextAR Spinal device.

HMC Dr Siraj Eldein Belkheir
Dr Sirajeddin Belkhair

HMC Neurosurgery Department Head Dr Sirajeddin Belkhair,  the leader of the surgical team who performed the surgery, explained that the advanced technology allows surgeons to guide surgical instruments with high precision within the patient’s spinal column. The device minimises the risk of injury to the surrounding vascular and neural tissues, thereby reducing the potential side effects of the surgical procedure.

The technology relies on the integration of the patient’s spinal column CT scan images with the actual patient’s spine through electronic glasses worn by surgeons during the procedure. The glasses connect to a computer through Bluetooth in the operating room, providing a clearer view for placing spinal implants.

As a result, the surgical procedure can be performed more quickly and with greater accuracy.

Accurate guidance

The 60-year-old patient had been suffering from a spinal tumour that had been exerting pressure on his spinal cord, causing paralysis in both his legs. After the six-hour surgical procedure, the tumour was successfully removed, and the patient regained the ability to walk three days after the surgery.

The patient is currently undergoing post-operative physical therapy to fully recover his walking ability and return to normal life.

Dr Sirajeddin emphasised the importance of Augmented Reality and Electronic Navigation technology in spinal surgery due to the complexity of spinal anatomy and the need for extreme precision. The technology helps in identifying optimal surgical sites and angles and provides accurate guidance for the surgical instruments used in placing spinal implants.

The Neurosurgery Department at HMC has experienced significant growth in recent years in terms of the quality and quantity of surgical procedures. The department performs over 1,000 surgeries annually, encompassing brain and spinal surgery in all its branches and providing high-quality medical services to residents and citizens of Qatar.

Dr Sirajeddin attributes the substantial increase in the number of surgeries to the growing confidence of patients, both citizens and residents, in the quality of surgical procedures and medical services provided by HMC.

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