A surgical navigation system based on image-guidance can be compared with a GPS (global positioning satellite) system used in cars. The surgical navigation system helps the surgeon confirm the location of critical structures within the body. This is helpful when the anatomy of the patient changes during surgery and when the surgeon needs to see beyond organs.

To use a navigation system preoperative images (CT, MR) are taken of the patient using a specific navigation system protocol. One such protocol can be to use special masks or markers on the patient to serve as reference points. During surgery the preoperative images are registered, i.e. linked to the patient lying on the operation table using e.g. the physical markers on the patient and the same markers found in the preoperative images. Surgical instruments can then be tracked by the navigation system so that they are visible in the preoperative images.

A navigation system provides 3-dimensional visualization that enables the surgeon to locate and avoid critical structures, while safely navigating to the diseased area. More information about how it works when a brain tumor is removed can be found here.

The national advisory unit for ultrasound and image-guided therapy (usigt) performs clinical trials together with Trondheim University Hospital and other university hospitals in Norway. All participants will be asked to fill out an informed consent prior to enrollment. All clinical trials are accepted by the regional ethical commitee and Trondheim University Hospital is the responsible unit.