Augmented reality-mediated stereotactic navigation for execution of en bloc lumbar spondylectomy osteotomies

Camilo A. Molina, Christopher F. Dibble, Sheng Fu Larry Lo, Timothy Witham, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


En bloc spinal tumor resections are technically demanding procedures with high morbidity because of the conventionally large exposure area and aggressive resection goals. Stereotactic surgical navigation presents an opportunity to perform the smallest possible resection plan while still achieving an en bloc resection. Augmented reality (AR)-mediated spine surgery (ARMSS) via a mounted display with an integrated tracking camera is a novel FDA-approved technology for intraoperative "heads up"neuronavigation, with the proposed advantages of increased precision, workflow efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. As surgical experience and capability with this technology grow, the potential for more technically demanding surgical applications arises. Here, the authors describe the use of ARMSS for guidance in a unique osteotomy execution to achieve an en bloc wide marginal resection of an L1 chordoma through a posterior-only approach while avoiding a tumor capsule breach. A technique is described to simultaneously visualize the navigational guidance provided by the contralateral surgeon's tracked pointer and the progress of the BoneScalpel aligned in parallel with the tracked instrument, providing maximum precision and safety. The procedure was completed by reconstruction performed with a quad-rod and cabled fibular strut allograft construct, and the patient did well postoperatively. Finally, the authors review the technical aspects of the approach, as well as the applications and limitations of this new technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-705
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Augmented reality
  • Chordoma
  • Computer-assisted spine surgery
  • Deformity
  • En bloc
  • Mixed reality
  • Spine navigation
  • Spine tumor
  • Surgical technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Surgery


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