Image-guided surgery (IGS) uses computer-generated images before, during and after a surgical procedure in order to identify and clarify the particular features of a surgical site. During image-guided surgery, the surgeon tracks the path of surgical instruments in order to perform the procedure indirectly. Image-guided surgery is a type of computer-assisted surgery. It has the advantage of being minimally invasive, and of allowing the surgeon to have an enhanced view of the anatomical structures of the surgical site.
Originally developed in the field of interventional radiology to treat brain tumors, image-guided surgery helps a surgeon to avoid damaging the brain and nervous system. IGS is also used successfully in surgeries of the sinus and other parts of the body.
During image-guided surgery, images of the surgical site, provided to the surgeon in real time, facilitate the procedure. IGS systems employ various methods, including optical, mechanical, ultrasonic and electromagnetic, in the tracking of surgical instruments. When fluorescence, which illuminates the surgical field, is used in image-guided surgery, the procedure is called "fluorescence image-guided surgery."