Image-guided surgery refers to use of a probe that is tracked by a computer as the probe passes through the nose during a sinus surgery. A computer, which is attached to the probe either physically or remotely, provides the surgeon with a map of the nose and sinuses as he/she performs the operation. The map is provided by data from a CT taken of your sinuses before the operation. The image-guidance system gives the surgeon precise, real-time, three-dimensional information about exact location of instruments being used to open the sinus cavities. This type of system gives an added layer of safety to complex endoscopic sinus surgical procedures.

There are two main types of image-guidance systems. There are infrared (optical) systems and electromagnetic systems. Both types of system do essentially the same function. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Image-guidance systems are used for a variety of operations. Some of these include; primary sinus surgery with extensive disease, revision sinus surgery, trans-sphenoidal pituitary surgery, removal of sinus tumors, CSF leak repair, and optic nerve decompression. The advantage of image-guidance systems are apparent: they can help a surgeon know the precise anatomy of each patient’s nose and sinuses and help identify important landmarks during surgery.