Akron Children’s has opened a dedicated operating room for child, adolescent and young adult spine surgeries, which has, at its centerpiece, the nView s1 navigation system.
As the second children’s hospital in the country and the first in the Midwest to use the nView system, Akron Children’s pediatric orthopedic surgeons now have the benefit of three-dimensional images of the spine in real time in the OR.
“This is a brand-new technology that uses ultra-low dose radiation to generate three-dimensional images and artificial intelligence to help us guide our implants into the correct location,” said Lorena Floccari, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and director of spine research at Akron Children’s.
In addition to an estimated 80 percent reduction in radiation exposure for patients, the system allows surgeons to navigate seeing a true representation of the anatomy.
“We can obtain the images for navigation in one minute compared with 20 minutes using our previous system and they automatically orient in the correct plane of view,” Dr. Floccari added.
The nView labels every vertebra in the spine and, at the end of the surgery, gives the surgeons before and after views with real-time measurements so they can calibrate their correction and make final alignments.
Todd Ritzman, MD, chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, said the nView will be used as the standard of care for idiopathic scoliosis cases, representing about 80 percent of the OR volume.
“The efficiency and ease of this technology fits well into our workflow and we are expecting even better outcomes,” said Dr. Ritzman. “More efficiencies in the OR translate into fewer infections, fewer transfusions, fewer complications, and less cost to the health care system. It’s very exciting to have a facility 100% focused on spine surgery.”
Scoliosis, a condition that causes three-dimensional spinal curvature, is diagnosed in up to 4% of children, usually between age 10 and adulthood. If the curve is large enough and interventions such as physical therapy and bracing are not effective in slowing the progression, spinal surgery is recommended. Akron Children’s performs nearly 130 surgeries for idiopathic and other types of scoliosis each year.
“We have a dedicated pediatric spine team here and this is a dedicated spine OR, built to perform safe and efficient pediatric spine surgeries,” said Dr. Ritzman. “There really isn’t technology that exists that we didn’t put in this room. This is a first in northeast Ohio.”
Dr. Ritzman noted that Akron Children’s spine surgery outcome data is among the best in the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for patient length of stay and with performance better than national benchmarks for factors such as complication rates and re-admissions.
Akron Children’s is committed to pediatric spine research with more than 20 open studies and ongoing collaboration with other children’s hospitals to share best practices.
The $3.5 million OR project was designed to maximize construction efficiencies using Lean Six Sigma principles. A donation by Mark and Cathy Clark of Akron purchased the nView and supported the spine OR renovation.