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Film critics agree that Avatar’s 3-D concept has forever changed the way movies will be made. Similarly, hospitals are now following suit, as Alvarado Hospital brings state-of-the-art imaging technology—called the O-Arm—to the operating room.

What makes the O-Arm unique is that it provides a real-time 2-D and 3-D image of a patient’s internal anatomy. These images guide surgeons performing minimally invasive spine procedures with greater precision and accuracy—especially for complex spine surgeries.

The new donut-shaped technology, which is available in only a few other hospitals in the nation, allows physicians to take 360-degree images around the patient. The image is sent to a navigation computer in the OR in 30 seconds or less, which the surgeon views during surgery. The surgeon then has the immediate feedback needed to make adjustments if necessary during the operation. The system’s mobility allows it to be used for multiple procedures occurring simultaneously.

“The 3-D imaging equipment has transformed the way we perform procedures on patients,” said spine specialist Choll Kim, MD. “It gives us a comprehensive image of the patient before they even leave the OR.”

Combined with the minimally invasive, GPS-guided surgical system known as the Stealth, surgeons at Alvarado Hospital have sophisticated technology at their finger tips, which allows them to carry out some of the most advanced and complicated spine surgeries performed today.