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Reno neurosurgeon first in country to use virtual reality in spine surgery

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 9:36 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A Reno doctor is at the forefront of revolutionary changes in spine surgery and medicine in general.

Dr. James Lynch, neurosurgeon and Chairman/CEO of Spine Nevada, recently became the first in the United States to use Augmedics xvision at a community hospital.

“This is straight out of the Jetsons’ age,” says Dr. Lynch. “It’s a quantum leap, for sure.”

The cutting-edge instrument essentially gives the surgeon x-ray vision, allowing them to look directly at their patient as opposed to a monitor while performing minimally invasive operations. Augmedics has its headquarters in the Chicago area.

“It had the wow factor with it,” Dr. Lynch says of his first use of Augmedics. “It’s really x-ray vision, looking through the patient’s skin.”

So far, Dr. Lynch has performed four successful surgeries at Renown Regional Medical Center. He says Augmedics is more accurate and efficient.

“Less collateral damage to the tissues, less length of stay,” he adds. “A minimally invasive approach with less overall pain and better outcomes for the patient.”

“This will be used in other fields of orthopedics and eventually, general surgery.”

Since creating Spine Nevada in 2004, Dr. Lynch - who studied in Ireland, had a 7-year residency at the Mayo Clinic and multiple fellowships - has took pride in keeping up to date on the latest technology and innovation. He says before opening in Reno, roughly 18% of local patients would leave town for proper care.

“Since then, we’ve reduced that to probably less than one percent,” says Dr. Lynch. “We’re happy to provide that level of skill across the platform here in Reno.”

Spine Nevada already features what Dr. Lynch says is the “most advanced spinal imaging technology in the world”. Now, thanks to him and his partners, the Biggest Little City is also first in line for the latest landmark move in modern medicine.

“We’ve got a great team in the practice and keeping up keeps us involved,” adds Dr. Lynch. “It’s challenging and stimulating at the same time. We’re glad to play our part.”

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