FDA clears 3D virtual reality device for surgical procedures

Surgical Theater's SNAP device--Courtesy of Surgical Theater

Surgical Theater scored FDA clearance for its 3D, augmented reality surgical navigation advanced platform (SNAP) for operating room procedures.

The company's SNAP device combines flight simulation technology and advanced CT/MRI imaging to allow physicians to perform a real-life "fly through" of surgery, and provides virtual reality guidance to help determine the best way to remove tumors or treat heart defects. Surgeons can rotate images from a patient's CT/MRI scan or make them semi-transparent to see behind arteries and other critical structures, increasing accuracy during complex procedures, the Cleveland, OH-based company said in a statement. SNAP's virtual reality element also helps physicians run through potential scenarios prior to making the first incision.

"It is just like watching a football game when multiple cameras are located around the arena and an editor can freeze the image, rotate, zoom in, zoom out and see things that he could not otherwise see," Dr. Warren Selman, one of the company's founders and chairman of the department of neurological surgery at UH Case Medical Center, said in a statement.

Surgical Theater won FDA clearance for its first product, the Surgical Rehearsal Platform (SRP), in Feb. 2013. The device was approved as a way for surgeons to plan procedures outside the operating room, and has been used approximately 500 times to-date, the company said in a statement. SNAP builds on the company's existing surgical rehearsal platform and provides new access to operating room technology.

"We are extremely excited to expand our offerings beyond planning and rehearsing surgeries outside the operating room," said CEO Moty Avisar. "The SNAP, our advanced imaging platform, allows us to connect to the operating room navigation system and become a part of the surgery as it's performed, enabling a surgeon and operating room team to achieve their goal of delivering the best care and outcome for the patient."

Surgical Theater isn't the only company delving into 3D surgical technology. Philips Healthcare ($PHG) recently launched its NeuroSuite device for minimally invasive, image-guided neurological surgeries in patients who suffer from ischemic stroke or large neck aneurysm. The company said the product's lower X-ray dose and real-time 3D imaging capabilities provides clearer imaging and allows physicians to more easily navigate procedures.

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