Navigated Spinal Fusion

Most spine fusion surgeries require hardware (screws and rods) to be placed into the spine to provide stabilization and promote fusion of the bones together. Navigated spinal fusion involves using “navigation technology” to assist in the fusion surgery. Navigation technology can be compared to a car’s GPS; it helps guide directions to a destination in real time. When hardware is being placed into the spine, it is important to make sure the implants are going through the intended path. Navigation technology provides visualization in real time exactly where the implants are going. This increases the accuracy of hardware placement and allows for safer, more accurate instrumentation of the spine.

How the navigation technology works

Once the patient is asleep, a 3D scan of the spine is performed. The images are then registered into the navigation system. The tools and implants used during surgery have special trackers on them that allow visualization in real time where the implants are in relation to the spine. This ensures safe and proper placement of the hardware into the spine.

Benefits of Navigated Spinal Fusion

  • Safe and accurate placement of hardware.
    • By being able to see in real time where the screws are going, the hardware is able to be placed exactly where it is intended to go.
  • Ability to perform minimally invasive surgery.
    • The navigation technology allows for the hardware to be placed through small, muscle sparing incisions. This limits tissue trauma and promotes a faster recovery.


Dallas Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
Dr Michael R Wheeler, MD
Orthopedic Spine Specialist Procedures