Nasal & Sinus Center

3D Computerized Image Guidance

The St. Joseph Hospital Nasal & Sinus Center is one of the first programs in the western United States and one a few hospitals in California to offer a three-dimensional computerized image guidance system for sinus surgery. The InstaTrak System, developed with Gulf War missile tracking technology, allows surgeons to work deep inside the sinus cavities, within millimeters of delicate areas of the eyes and brain, the new system is nothing short of revolutionary. The InstaTrak System provides a critical element previously missing in sinus surgery - depth perception. Before there was just a CT scan, which the surgeon had to try to correlate with the patient's anatomy. InstaTrak allows surgeons to go into all the sinuses to remove disease while avoiding critical structures of the brain, eyes, major blood vessels and pituitary gland.

But to surgeons who must work deep inside the sinus cavities, within millimeters of delicate areas of the eyes and brain, the new system is little short of revolutionary. It allows our panel surgeons to take their current skills and experience and add a margin of safety. We think it will become the standard of care. The InstaTrak System provides a critical element previously missing in sinus surgery - depth perception. Before there was just a CT scan, which the surgeon had to try to correlate with the patient's anatomy. InstaTrak allows surgeons to go into all the sinuses to remove disease and avoid critical structures of the brain, eyes, major blood vessels and pituitary gland by enhancing the surgeon's confidence.

Before surgery, the patient undergoes a CT scan, wearing the InstaTrak headset. Placed on the bridge of the nose and in the external ear canals, the headset is used with the CT scan to create a three-dimensional road map of the sinus anatomy. During surgery, the surgeon uses a special suction device tipped with electromagnetic sensors to register, or create an exact correlation between the location of the "3-D" CT scan. As it stays fixed in relation to the patient's anatomy, the headset compensates for head movement as it automates registration.

What this means to surgeons is the ability to "see around corners" - to determine with extreme accuracy where and how close they are to important structures within the surrounding sinuses. The precision is particularly important when landmarks of the sinuses have been changed by previous surgery resulting in fewer complications.