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University of Missouri Health Care News Releases
New O-arm imaging technology delivers greater precision and accuracy to University Hospital spine surgeons (AUDIO AVAILABLE)

May 4, 2010                                                                                Contact: Matt Splett
                                                                                                      Media Coordinator
                                                                                                      splettm@health.missouri.edu 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    (573) 882-5663

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Similar to GPS technology that helps drivers navigate on a highway, University Hospital’s new O-arm® Imaging System is guiding spine surgeons through complex spine surgeries.

The O-arm system lets surgeons see inside the body like never before by providing real-time 2-D and 3-D images of the patient’s internal anatomy. These images guide surgeons performing minimally invasive spine procedures with greater precision and accuracy.

O-arm Imaging System

University Hospital is the first hospital in mid-Missouri using the O-arm technology. Neurosurgeon Dennis Mollman, M.D., Ph.D., performed the first minimally invasive lumbar fusion at the hospital using the new O-arm system.

With its donut-shaped design, the O-arm system takes a 360-degree image around the patient. The image is communicated to a navigation computer in the operating room, which the surgeon views during surgery.

While traditional spine surgeries, such as a lumbar fusion, require the surgeon to make a 12-inch incision in the patient’s back and cut away back muscles and tissue for visualization to place screws and rods, the O-arm system requires surgeons to make only two small, two-to-three inch incisions on each side of the spine. The surgeon guides his or her instruments through the layer of muscle and tissue by

O-arm's digital flat-panel navigation screen
watching the O-arm’s digital flat-panel navigation screen, which displays a real time 3-D image of the patient’s spine.

“Using this precision-guided technology, we can operate on a specific spot on the spine without having to expose it,” Mollman said. “The surgeon knows exactly where he or she is placing the screws within a millimeter. The smaller incisions make for less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a faster recovery time for the patient.”

The O-arm imaging reduces radiation exposure to the patient and the surgical team. Traditional spine surgeries require University Hospital’s surgical team to take multiple X-rays for every screw placed during a fusion or implant procedure. With the O-arm, only a pre-operative and post-operative scan is taken. The post-operative scan verifies the surgical images before the patient leaves the operating room, which greatly reduces the need for corrective surgeries in the future.

Dennis Mollman, M.D., operates using the O-arm

“Intraoperative technology allows the surgeon to make surgical adjustments in real time, while the patient is in the operating room,” said Mollman. “The O-arm is revolutionizing a neurosurgeon’s approach to spine surgery and improving patient outcomes.”

Mollman said the O-arm system will benefit patients of all ages. Some of his patients have returned to work only a couple weeks after surgery. However, Mollman said, all patients are restricted from lifting more than 15 pounds in the first six weeks following surgery.

Audio Files

Dennis Mollman, M.D., Ph.D., neurosurgeon at MU Health Care

What is the O-arm? MP3 WAV
How does this technology benefit patients? MP3 WAV




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