A UB medical student and professor collaborated to invent a technology that today is used worldwide to increase surgical accuracy while reducing radiation exposure in the operating room.
In years past, accurate percutaneous placement of rods and screws in bone was a common problem for orthopedic surgeons, as was the risk of excessive radiation exposure to patient and surgeon during such image-guided procedures.
Even with multiple X-ray images, the methodology involved a trial-and-error approach with no guarantee of precision. Repeated attempts to place screws accurately resulted in a myriad of potential complications for the patient, including increased risk of postoperative secondary fracture and the need for additional operations.
The solution to this set of problems was found at the point of a laser beam by Michael K. Landi, MD, while he was a medical student at UB in the early 1990s, and Robert Lifeso, MD, clinical professor of orthopaedics.
Their invention, called the DRTS™ Platform (Dual Radiation Targeting System), is a laser targeting system for fluoroscopically guided procedures. It allows the surgeon to use a fluoroscope to visualize and locate a deep structure, turn off the X-ray radiation, and still have accurate guidance and position information to complete the procedure. In addition to increasing surgical accuracy, the system significantly reduces time in the operating room, as well as radiation exposure for operating room personnel and patients.
Although designed originally for use in the orthopedic field, the innovative system has broad applications across many other specialties, including oncology and neurology. For example, it is ideal for performing minimally invasive deep-tissue biopsies done on breasts, livers or spleens. The system also helps reduce the patient’s discomfort, says Landi, “because you can hit the target on your first attempt without having to manipulate the needle under fluroroscopy, something that can be especially painful during bone or vertebral biopsies.”
The DRTS™ Platform received Food and Drug Administration approval in September 1997. Today it is manufactured by MINRAD International, Inc. in Orchard Park, New York, and distributed worldwide under the brand name MINRAD Targeting System.