Augmented Reality X-ray Insights
Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT
We are truly living in and experiencing the most exciting time in dentistry and dental technology. We've witnessed some remarkable robotic innovations in dental implantology, as well as artificial intelligence deployed in scanning coupled with truly innovative coding and dental diagnostic software. Recently, there has been considerable talk on artificial intelligence and augmented reality (AR) in dentistry and the medical space. Are we at the brink of a new age of technology? Where could these advances take us in the near future and how would they affect our environment, as well as our competitive market? These are all questions a savvy dental professional should be asking themselves and researching to stay abreast of the newest and most innovative technological advancements in our space. This is the philosophy I live and breathe by and something I am incredibly grateful and humbled to share with our IDT readers.
A recent noteworthy FDA clearance was granted to a Chicago-based startup company called Augmedics Inc. for its Xvision Spine system. The company received the FDA 510(k) clearance for its device and software, which provides surgeons with x-ray-quality insights into a patient's anatomy and real-time surgical navigation and guidance. While the FDA has cleared other AR products before, Xvision Spine (XVS) is the first to be indicated for guided surgery. "There is no other device…that is using both the technology of augmented reality on a headset and has the full capabilities of surgical navigation, of tracking the surgical instrument very precisely to locate and guide the surgeon throughout the surgery," says Nissan Elimelech, Augmedics' founder and CEO.1
The FDA cleared the system and its corresponding software "as an aid for precisely locating anatomical structures in either open or percutaneous spinal procedures. Their use is indicated for any medical condition in which the use of stereotactic surgery may be appropriate, and where reference to a rigid anatomical structure, such as the spine, can be identified relative to CT imagery of the anatomy."1 With its intended use, this or a similar device could be of tremendous benefit to dental practitioners while placing dental implants and using cone-beam technology and guided surgery software.
What makes this system really exciting is that it is comprised of a transparent near-eye-display headset, as well as the capabilities found in traditional surgical navigation and guidance systems. It plots the real-time positioning of surgical tools and superimposes a virtual trajectory over the patient's CT imaging data. While the surgeon uses the headset, the navigation data are then projected in 3D onto their retina, enabling him or her to see both the patient's anatomy and navigation guidance without looking away to a remote screen.2 Theoretically, the device can be used while scanning and performing invasive dental procedures, allowing the practitioner to see every anatomical structure clearly in real time.
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