Scot MacDonald
23rd Apr 2018

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC today opened the state of the art surgical imaging O-Arm machine at John Hunter Hospital.

An O-Arm machine is a surgical imaging system that enables surgeons to view high quality images of the patient’s spine in real time, during the actual procedure.

John Hunter Hospital has also installed two brand new surgical navigation systems – Stealth Stations - that the surgeon can use to track the O-Arm in relation to the patient's anatomy.

Mr MacDonald said this is the first O-Arm installed in a public hospital outside of Sydney and will improve operating theatre efficiency and patient experience.

“The O-Arm and Stealth Stations are a total investment of $1.8 million by the NSW Government into the operational capabilities of John Hunter Hospital,” Mr MacDonald said.

“Following the recent opening of the Acute General Surgical Unit, John Hunter Hospital now has the best in modern surgical equipment for Newcastle and Hunter residents.”

Neurosurgeons will often use real-time views of the spine during surgery to confirm the success of a procedure, particularly the positioning of spinal implants. This helps reduce the need for another operation and ensures the best outcome for the patient.

The design of the O-Arm also means that the machine can be used within the sterile field of the operation, and by the surgeon themselves, improving the workflow and efficiency within the operating theatre.

The navigation system is compatible with both brain and spine surgery, and provides neuro-navigation and computer based guidance to the surgeon when they are using a tool that may not remain fully visible throughout the surgical procedure.

The system has optical and electromagnetic tracking capabilities and integrates with external devices like microscopes and ultrasound. It also has software applications specifically designed for neurosurgical procedures such as biopsy and tumor removal.