Tech Talk: Meet the O-Arm

The O-Arm at work during spine surgery in the Lexington Medical Center Surgery department.

Imagine a machine that can take real-time, 3-D, HD images of the inside of your body during surgery. Doctors can see exactly what’s going on inside of you and make sure every step is correct throughout the surgical procedure. You probably wouldn’t want to have surgery without it. And now – you don’t have to.

Lexington Medical Center is the first hospital in the Midlands with the technologically advanced O-Arm, a new imaging system for spinal surgery.

The O-Arm is a machine placed around a patient on the operating table. Before surgery, doctors use the O-Arm to capture images of the patient that help them develop a precise surgical guide. During surgery, the O-Arm images allow neurosurgeons to confirm proper placement of instrumentation. After implants are placed, neurosurgeons use the O-Arm again to confirm correct placement of instruments in the spine and address anything further that needs to be done. Images are displayed on a large, digital flat screen at a view station next to the operating table.

For an up-close look at the O-Arm in the Lexington Medical Center operating room, watch this video. Dr. Scott Boyd, neurogurgeon at Columbia Neurology Associates narrates.

What is the O-arm? from Lexington Medical Center on Vimeo.

An image captured by the O-Arm at Lexington Medical Center

Before O-Arm technology, patients would have an MRI or CT scan before surgery and doctors would use 1- or 2-Dimensional images to guide them. They would place instruments and implants by using their best educated guess based on standard anatomy. But in back surgery, doctors are working through a small opening and it can be difficult to know where you are in the spine. Margins of error are millimeters – and implants must be placed with a great deal of accuracy.

Manufactured by Medtronic, the O-Arm improves safety for surgeons and staff members, lowers the chance of revision surgeries and can enhance patient outcomes. Spinal problems can be chronic and debilitating. The O-Arm gives patients a great opportunity for excellent results.

Lexington Medical Center began using the O-Arm this summer. For more information, visit

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2 Responses to “Tech Talk: Meet the O-Arm”

  1. Kudos to Dr Boyd and the operating team at Lexington Medical Center. 18 months later and still excellent results from L4-L5 fusion performed with O-arm. Professionals all (and the recovery department is excellent as well).

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