Medacta brings AR-powered visualisation to surgery

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With enhanced visualisation via AR, NextAR from Medacta is an innovative and efficient tool for ultra-precise, patient-specific treatment

Quick read

➨ NextAR uses AI and machine learning to make pre-operative CT-based planning and analysis efficient and precise
➨ The AR glasses that come with NextAR allow the surgeon to visualise surgical actions and information in real-time, directly on the operative field
➨ NextAR, with a precise reconstruction of the patient bone morphology, allows direct tracking of the collateral ligaments and a 3D analysis of soft tissue behaviour throughout the whole range of motion during surgery

The story

Orthopaedic medical device company Medacta is preparing to launch an AR-powered surgical platform for total knee arthroplasty procedures in the US, after receiving regulatory clearance.

NextAR, soon to be deployed for hip, shoulder and spine procedures, too, uses AI and machine learning to make pre-operative CT-based planning and analysis efficient and precise.

The AR glasses that come with NextAR allow the surgeon to visualise surgical actions and information in real-time, directly on the operative field.

The AR glasses that come with NextAR allow the surgeon to visualise surgical actions and information in real-time, directly on the operative field
The AR glasses that come with NextAR allow the surgeon to visualise surgical actions and information in real-time, directly on the operative field

“With enhanced visualisation via augmented reality, the NextAR platform is an innovative and efficient tool for ultra-precise, patient-specific treatment,” explained Dr Michael McAuliffe, an orthopaedic surgeon at St Andrew’s Ipswich Hospital in Queensland, Australia, and a member of the expert surgeon panel that Medacta collaborated with to develop NextAR.

NextAR, with a precise reconstruction of the patient bone morphology, allows direct tracking of the collateral ligaments and a 3D analysis of soft tissue behaviour throughout the whole range of motion during surgery.

Dr McAuliffe continued, stressing this platform’s advantages over current tools: “With the NextAR application, we are able to track 3D soft tissue behaviour during a surgery in real time.”

“This functionality is an exciting advancement from traditional computer-assisted or robotic-assisted surgical systems that only track the relative movement of the knee bones, not the actual soft tissue.”

Medacta has also developed the NextAR TS, an infrared single-use tracking system that has the potential to improve surgery efficiency while helping surgeons execute pre-op plans.

Jonathan Vigdorchik, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and collaborator on the platform, said: “The new NextAR application allows for great precision and control, ultimately translating to great efficiency in the operating room.”

“Particularly in today’s environment, as surgeons and health systems look to recover surgeries that were deferred during the Covid-19 pandemic, efficiency in the operating room will become even more crucial than before.”

Francesco Siccardi, chief executive officer of Medacta, said: “Patients and surgeons are attracted by improved outcomes and innovation, the NextAR platform is one Medacta answer to the current race in orthopaedic technology and I am very excited about this milestone achievement.”

“Requiring a very limited investment in capital equipment, the NextAR platform perfectly represents Medacta’s commitment to develop solutions that are able to improve patient outcomes and healthcare system sustainability.”

Using AR for visualisation instead of a robotic or computer aid, as is the case in many orthopaedic surgeries, seems to represent a significant step forward in the field.

It remains to be seen whether the platform will bring as much efficiency to the operating room as Medacta says it will, but healthcare is continuing to benefit from immersive technologies.

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Main image: NextAR from Medacta