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

There’s An Athlete In All of Us!

By:  Susan K. Wilkerson, RD, LD

Clinical Dietitian, Lexington Medical Center

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London start this month.  Many of us will be sitting in front of the TV for hours watching in amazement as these athletic specimens perform their feats.  Let’s take a peek at what the athletes eat.

From the beginning, food played a big part in an athlete’s life.  During Ancient Greek times most people ate breads, vegetables and fruits.  The meat source was fish for the people who lived near the sea.  The earliest records point to a cheese and fruit-based diet for the first Olympic athletes.  Ancient Olympians came from the upper class since wealthy families could feed their children more protein-rich legumes, cheeses and meats to build strong muscle.

A study of the diet of athletes in Berlin in 1936 (Schenk, 1936) based on the analysis of the diets of 4,700 competitors from forty-two nations, determined an average in-take of 320g of protein, 270g of fat and 850g of carbohydrates, which is 7,110 kcal/day.  The majority of the calories came from carbohydrates (48%).

Today, what you eat while you train and perform during your event makes a difference at the finish line.  With advance research and new technology, athletes today have specific needs for a specific task.  It’s all specialized, but it comes down to eating healthy fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean meats.  Highly processed refined foods are avoided.

So as we get inspired to get off the couch and walk around the block, let’s think about what we eat to fuel our bodies to complete the tasks of the day.  There is an athlete in all of us!  As it is today, food has always played an important part in the life of athletes.  In fact, at the first recorded Olympics in 776 BC, the winning runner was a cook, Koroibos from Elis.

  1. National Geographic News Ancient Olympians follow Adkins diet Scolar says  
  2. Grivetti, L. E. and Applegate, E. A. (1997) From Olympia to Atlanta: A Cultural-Historical Perspective on Diet and Athletic Training, The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 127 No. 5, pp. 860S-868S.
  3. Olympic diet in pictures, the Guardian The Observer.
  4. Schenk, P. (1936). Munch. med. Wschr. 83, 1535.