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Digital & Innovation

Healthtech company and CSIRO bring innovation to spinal surgery

Health Industry Hub | April 7, 2021 |

Digital & Innovation: Recently ASX-listed healthtech company and Australia’s national science agency CSIRO have announced their successful collaboration of developing an automated segmentation of a spinal vertebra from CT scans.

This innovation allows surgeons and radiologists to not just visualise the spine in 3D using Singular’s software, but also to manipulate individual vertebrae, better plan surgeries and even allow customised surgical implants and guides.

Singular Health Group’s automated segmentation has an accuracy rate above 95%. Once edited by radiologists and surgeons this increases to 100%.

Executive Director of Innovation at Singular Health, Dr Guan Tay, said he believes the use of AI will disrupt the medical imagery industry.

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“The use of artificial intelligence in medical imaging, and more specifically radiology, has the ability to profoundly change the workflow for radiologists.

“With around 45,000 Australians undergoing spinal surgery every year, the rapid segmentation will save thousands of hours for radiologists and surgeons who will only have to make small mark-ups and/or validate the segmentation as opposed to manual segmentation slice-by-slice,” said Dr Tay.

The analysis and segmentation only takes about two minutes using Singular’s MedVR & 3DicomViewer software. This makes the process semi-automated as surgeons and radiologists can edit the output in order to ensure compliance with the imaging.

To put this into perspective, the manual segmentation process by medical practitioners usually takes hours.

Rather tediously, the manual process involves identifying and marking verterbrae on every single CT slice, of which there can be hundreds. Unsurprisingly, this task can be mentally fatiguing.

Dr Dadong Wang, the Quantitative Imaging Research Team Leader at CSIRO’s Data 61, praised the user-friendliness of the new innovation.

“CSIRO has been able to apply data science and Artificial Intelligence to enable users to better visualise the spine and individual vertebrae. This semi-automated segmentation and labelling of the spinal vertebrae is both time saving and can be represented in 3D models, which can also be viewed in virtual reality, providing higher interactivity,” commented Dr Wang.

The project received funding and support from the CSIRO Kick-Start initiative, a program that gives Australian start-ups and small businesses access to CSIRO’s research and development expertise and capabilities.


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