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Educational articles on ENT conditions that affect you

Image Guide System For Sinus Surgery
(also known as the Navigational System).

What is the Image-guided system (IGS)?

The Image-Guided System, also known as the Navigational System, is a virtual 3D model and mapping of the patient's sinus anatomy, and an interactive display of the sinus surgeon's instruments during surgery.

Most sinus problems go away on their own. Some are caused by bacterial infection and can easily be treated with prescribed and over-the-counter medicines and saline sprays. Others, however, are more complex and may require sinus surgery. The procedure usually involves opening up the sinus pathways and clearing blockages.

Sinus surgery is also the main treatment for chronic sinusitis, polyps, deviated or crooked septums, as well as other structural abnormalities.

How does the IGS work?

One such surgical procedure utilizes the image-guided system (IGS), which greatly enhances precision, safety and accuracy of the procedure.

IGS can be divided into three stages:

  • Before surgery – Capture a 3D anatomical model of the patient’s sinuses, usually via CT scans or MRI. This stage shows the precise location of the blockage, and enables the ENT doctor to determine the least invasive way to access it.
  • During surgery – Use of the 3D model and tracked instruments (e.g. endoscopes) to guide the sinus surgeon in accessing the sinus area. The process is displayed in real time on a monitor.
  • After surgery – Capture another 3D model to ensure that the blockage has been removed.
  • IGS Procedure

    Before the surgery, the sinus surgeon will ask the patient to undergo a series of CT scans to capture images of the soft tissues and bones surrounding the sinuses. These images are then recorded and uploaded into a computer to create a near-3D anatomical model of the patient’s sinuses. Using specific points, the resulting picture will show clearly the size and location of the sinus blockage.

    During the IGS sinus surgery, special wireless instruments built in with LEDs and a remote control are directed to match real time images to precise points on the patient’s 3D anatomical model. This will create a digital map of the patient’s sinuses and face. After this, the surgical instruments and an endoscope can be inserted into the sinuses and navigated with great accuracy.

    Through a monitor, the endoscopic view of the instruments moving through the sinuses are displayed in real time. The computer then makes mathematically-calculated compensations for any patient movement.

    After the sinus operation, the sinus doctor may conduct another round of 3D anatomical mapping to ensure that the blockage has been successfully cleared.

    Benefits of IGS

    Image-guided surgery is designed for pinpoint accuracy. Considering that there is a considerable number of delicate anatomy around the sinuses, including the brain, optic nerve and blood vessels, accurately locating and removing the sinus blockages is crucial.

    It is also a minimally invasive surgery, resulting in less scars, minimal incisions and quicker recovery.

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