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GPS Principles Used by Praxim’s Surgetics Station

It’s always fascinating to discover something new among the myriad of applications to which GPS positioning technology can be applied such as parachute guidance, weather forecasting and location based services. Now one of the principles which underlie global positioning technology, trilateration , is being used to assist surgeons with orthopedic, ear nose and throat, soft tissue and prosthetics surgery.gps-station

The specialized medical equipment being referred to is the Surgetics Station by Praxim. This surgical navigation system is used for real time, extremely accurate 3D positioning of an instruments during surgery. Praxim’s website compares surgical navigation to the GPS System (Global Positioning Satellite System) with the road map being the 3-D patient image, the GPS satellites being an infrared camera and the vehicle represented by the surgical instrumentation being controlled.

The Surgetics Station which contains the navigation software, so called Surgetics Applications, necessary for specific types of surgery allows the surgeon to view the position of surgical instruments. The positioning system is infrared rather than radio based as with GPS. Two cameras emit infrared signals and receive feedback from retro reflective markers on the references that are fixed to the surgeon’s tools. The infrared based positioning system provides sub-millimeter precision.

With a 3D computer model and real-time 3D positioning surgeons can perform minimally invasive procedures where the tip of the surgical tool cannot actually be seen by the surgeon.

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