Surgical Positioning System

I have always been a techie & wanted to be in this field since my school days. It used to be a great fun using Logo with Turtle, giving commands like forward, turn, pen down and the endless fun we used to make in our Computer sessions at school. What made it more interesting was our ability to guide that turtle based on command we gave, in 90’s a child used to feel it as if he has some supernatural power of controlling things at his will.

Ability of guiding, navigating and the sense of prediction gives we humans a feel of familiarity & security. So now all of us are known to GPS – global positioning system and now India that is coming up with its own regional navigation satellite system named as NAVIC, with advancement in technology more complex solution are becoming a reality and one such solution is starting to build up in BioMedical field.

I recently learnt about a group of researchers in Cleveland Clinic trying to build a solution in surgical navigation technology for surgical precision & control, called as IOPS (Intra-Operative Positioning System). Ever been in a situation where you are at a juncture that has heightened sense of pressure on you to take a decision and you finding yourself lost in that chaos, think of physicians who use fluoroscopy to obtain real-time images of internal body to perform surgery. For the ones who are trying to understand what fluoroscopy is, it is a technique that uses X-ray technology & at times with contrast dyes to obtain images which usually are very grainy & limit physician’s view during surgery, thank god they have mastered this somehow. An example of the image they usually work with look something like below.


This bunch of researchers that I am referring have come up with an excellent procedure via which they create a highly realistic environment of the body where the surgery needs to be performed.

Generate Model

Step-1: Using data collected in pre-operation CT scan they generate a model, that looks as below;

surgical positioning system

Tracking and Registration

Step-2 & 3: Involves setting up a tracking table & registration – which is similar to process followed in performing fluoroscopy overlay



Step-4: Using advanced 3D visualization and real time tracking to assist the medical procedure

3D Visualization

This technology is going to benefit both physician and patient in tremendous ways not only by reducing the risk to exposure to radiation or medical contrast materials but also making surgeries cost efficient.

Technology and solutions are emerging at fast pace and persons who understands technology and its meaningful applications in different fields are becoming key differentiators & contributors to society. I definitely feel this will be a significant contribution to the biomedical sector.