Computer aided surgery uses a navigation system to help the surgeon locate problem areas in the sinuses and to avoid complications. It is also called image guided surgery, computer guided sinus surgery, surgical navigation, and computer-guided imaging systems. The sinus navigation system is much like a GPS system in a car. The GPS system has a map and it can show you where your car is in on the map. In computer guided sinus surgery, the map is you and the computer tells the surgeon where the surgical instruments are in the sinuses.
How does it work?
Before your surgery you will go for a special type of CT scan. This CT scan can be loaded into the computer used in surgery and is used like a map. The surgeon will put a headband on your forehead before the operation, and this headband will tell the computer where your sinuses are. The headband and surgical instruments are connected to the computer map so the surgeon can see your CT scan on the screen and see exactly where the instrument is inside your sinuses.
When is Computer Aided Surgery used?
Computer aided surgery is helpful in cases where the inside of the nose is distorted. This may be because of previous surgery, severe polyps, trauma, a developmental disorder, or tumor. It is also an important tool when the surgeon plans to be operating near areas that will have complications damaged, such as the skull base (where the brain sits), the eye socket, the nerve to the eye and the carotid artery. Using navigation does not reduce the risk to zero, but being able to see these important structures and avoid them helps to reduce complications and keep the patient safe.