Image-guided surgery is a form of surgery that has revolutionized the means of saving lives. Surgery before the advent of this novel type was plagued with death both operative and post-operative (A Heeney et al. 2014). This sometimes may have had to do with the limitedness of human capabilities. Since surgeons are humans too, mistakes made during a surgical procedure can be fatal. Therefore, the introduction of an image-guided surgery type was expedient to facilitate precision and greatly improve visibility; this will lead to a vast reduction in mortality rate.

Application Of Image Guidance In Surgery

The application of image guidance as technological advancement in surgery is seen as the most effective in the treatment of certain conditions, such as cardiovascular, cranial, orthopaedic, urology, spine, and skeletal. There are many other specified areas where its application is important. NCBI stipulates that image-guided surgery delivers unusual new alternatives by the integration of presurgical 3D imaging, obtained by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and intraoperative manipulation following three basic principles, localization, orientation, and navigation.

What is Cranial Navigation?

Image-guided surgery employs intraoperative directional intelligence to get to the desired point, this is referred to as navigation. It is known that the intracranial space houses some very critical structures and delicate areas, surgery in the cranial cavity has to be approached with the greatest caution in order to avoid complications. According to NCBI, a detailed preoperative conclusion of any surgery in this location is crucial, and strict adherence to intraoperative technique. This locale deserves outstanding levels of precision, reliability, and cautiousness in order to protect very important anatomic systems.

How Does Image-Guided Surgery Work In Cranial Navigation?

Image-guided surgery systems capture the anatomy of the person and the surgeon's movements using cameras, electromagnetic, ultrasonic imaging, or combination of the fields and relay the information to the computer monitors available in the operating room. All of these things happen immediately and may only experience delays in seconds due to certain modalities. 

Manipulation and imaging are two core ingredients of a surgical procedure and computerization should have enhanced imaging and manipulation.

The Presurgical Diagnosis and Planning: the images of the patient produced as a result of Computerized Axial Tomography(CAT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan taken during the initial stages are fed to the image guidance system, to form a special model of the patient cranial cavity in 3D. This 3D model is used to plan carefully, the plan is then saved on the system for the surgery.

The Patient's Preparation and Registration: the patient's head is placed in a way that remains unchanged throughout the procedure, the registration is done by using a laser to scan the surface of the patient's face, this automatically compute the cranial structure and the 3D model aligns exactly as the patient is placed. This is necessary so the surgeon can see his instruments in tandem with the patient's anatomy and their representation on the 3D model can orient themselves accordingly.

The Image-Guided Surgery: immediately all is arranged, the surgeon simply follows the plan which has been imputed to the system, the surgery commences with temporarily removing a part of the bone flap to expose the head for surgery. All this is done while consulting the image guidance system, the details of the brain are boldly shown on the computer screen, and the image guidance system maps the brain showing the shortest and safest route to complete the surgery. 

The surgeon is able to see navigation information through the screen while looking at the patient at the same time, with the system they know which location they are in. On completion, the removed part of the bone is replaced and the surgery comes to a successful end.

Benefits Of Image-Guided Surgery

It saves time since, after the initial diagnosis, the treatment plan is designed and put into the image guidance system which followed during the intraoperative phase.
  • It increases the safety assurance of the surgeon
  • It greatly reduces the danger of mistakes during surgery
  • It protects other healthy parts of the cranial cavity from errors
  • Presurgical planning improves the surgeon's confidence
  • The invasive approach is curtailed
  • It enables easy navigation during surgery
  • It minimizes the complexity of nearly impossible surgeries, and give patients a chance.
Image-Guided Surgery plays a major role in Cranial navigation, the image-guidance system is one of the best innovative solutions to problems of visibility and precision in surgery. As technology continues to make progress at an alarming rate, there are no surprises that in recent years there are already upgrades to the image-guidance system, with even better advantages such as,
  • The use of visible light for immediate registration cranial configuration
  • Registration performed without any contact, allowing an aseptic advancement.
  • The removal of mistakes known with conventional image fusion.