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<p>During the past few years, new surgical techniques have been developed to improve the quality of operations and reduce patient pain. Minimally invasive surgery, robot-assisted hip replacement, and image-guided treatment planning during the actual operation are key developments. Another new procedure, computer-assisted surgery (CAS), helps surgeons find their bearings during operations under difficult visual conditions. These include brain surgery and other head operations. CAS combines coordinate measurements of the operating instruments and superimposes their positions onto images of the operation area so that surgeons can follow instrument movements on a computer screen. Since 1986, the Institute for Measurement Techniques (Lehrstuhl für Meßtechnik) has been working closely with with the Aachen University Hospital to develop CAS systems. Based on this work, an industrial partner, Philips Medical Systems, has developed a commercial system for neurosurgery. This article provides an overview of the development process and an outlook on possible applications.</p>

R. Rüger, D. Meyer-Ebrecht, L. Adams, A. Knepper and W. van der Brug, "An Optical Navigator for Brain Surgery," in Computer, vol. 29, no. , pp. 48-54, 1996.
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