First AR neuromodulation spinal surgery in the world takes place at NNUH

The first neuromodulation AR surgery in the world has taken place at our hospital.

Nick Steele, Spinal Consultant, and team used the latest video technology and augmented reality (AR) goggles and were assisted by a neurosurgical colleague in Wales providing extra support with a complex spinal cord stimulation procedure.

The operation took place with technical support on hand by Rods and Cones in Belgium, which meant we were the first Neuromodulation team to use the Boston Scientific augmented reality goggles worldwide. The technology provides remote support or teaching without the need for a supporting surgeon to travel a long distance to be physically present in the operating room.

Ann-Katrin Fritz, Consultant in Neuromodulation and Pain Management, said: “When procedures are complicated, this technology allows us to have another specialist available in another part of the UK and someone very experienced in that procedure. It is the next best thing to having someone scrubbed up at the table in the theatre and there are a lot of advantages to this.

“Having that extra support if we do have an expected difficult case improves patient safety and the chances of the procedure being a success.

“The patient was fascinated and very grateful for the surgery to happen in this way. It is great that we can treat these patients at the hospital and not send them to other centres in Oxford or London.”