It may sound like a minor change, but adding diagnostic CT scanners to the operating room at Tucson's Carondelet Neurological Institute is getting attention from facilities around the world. That is because these scanners change the way some surgeries are done.

"A lumbar fusion in the pre-ICT would take a two-dimensional image and your direct visualization of the anatomy and based on that sort of triangulate in your mind, sort of decide where you are going to place that screw," said J.C. Christiano, a CNI neurologist.

He likens it to attempting to insert a screw into a stud through drywall.

"You want to hit that stud dead on, and you want to make sure the screw does not go out one side of the other," he said.

Christiano said using a CT scanner is like putting on 3D x-ray goggles that allow you to see the stud through the wall and from any angle. It makes implanting surgical screws, for instance, incredibly precise.

Another technological development at Carondelet is tracks in the floor that allow the CT scanner to be moved between adjacent operating rooms.

Visitors from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University Medical Center, and as far away as Asia and Germany have come to Tucson to see, "not only the setup, actually itself, but some of the algorithms, some of the workflow that we have developed", Christiano said.

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