London surgeons first in UK to use new imaging system

Private hospital takes delivery of pioneering new O-Arm real-time imaging solution

The O-Arm Imaging System enables surgeons to see exactly what they are doing in real-time

Spinal surgeons at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital have become the first medics in the UK to use the pioneering new spinal O-Arm Imaging System.

The equipment, manufactured by Medtronic, cost £600,000 and will help to improve patient outcomes and the number of complex procedures offered at the hospital in Harrow.

Instead of relying on CT and MRI scans or X-rays taken before surgery, the system provides clinicians with real-time, 3D images, as well as multi-plane, 2D and fluoroscopic imaging of patients during surgery. This means they can view the patient’s anatomy in the operative position, monitor the status of the surgery, and verify surgical changes made during operations, reducing the risk of complication.

Sean Molloy, consultant orthopaedic and spinal surgeon at the hospital, trained on the system in Europe and was the first physician in the UK to use it. He said that, traditionally, when placing screws in the spine, surgeons have to estimate the location of the bone with X-rays. With the O-Arm system, this accuracy is improved because of the real-time 3D images provided. The images can also be linked to an intra-operative navigation system known as the Stealth Station.

The greater accuracy afforded by the imaging capability in theatre, means the procedure is less invasive, faster, with quicker recovery times and improved patient outcomes

Molloy said: “Using the O-Arm and the Stealth Station together creates a global positioning system for the spine. During the surgery I am able to view a monitor and ensure the placement of screws in the spine is perfect every time. The greater accuracy afforded by the imaging capability in theatre, means the procedure is less invasive, faster, with quicker recovery times and improved patient outcomes.”

Before a procedure is completed, the O-Arm can also generate a final 3D CT scan of the spine to check the position of the hardware. In less than 30 seconds, it takes almost 400 images, which are reconstructed onto a flat panel monitor for the surgeon to review.

Molloy explained: “These images provide immediate confirmation that the hardware has been positioned in its optimal location before the patient leaves the operating room.”

Jan Hale, executive director of the hospital, added: “The addition of the O-Arm Imaging System at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital demonstrates our commitment to cutting-edge surgical technology that benefits all our spinal patients. We already have some of the finest consultants in this field and we are confident this new investment will allow us to continue expanding the level of complex procedures at our hospital while also improving the outcomes and level of care available to our patients.”

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