Siemens increased its investment in R&D by €500m in 2011, and over the past decade it has doubled R&D personnel.
It also presents awards to its top innovators.
One of those honoured in November was Dr Rainer Graumann, who has developed numerous improvements in medical imaging techniques and surgical navigation systems.
One example helps surgeons carrying out minimally invasive skeletal operations.
In the past they had to laboriously correlate marker points on a previously-prepared image of the patient with corresponding points on the area to be operated on.
Graumann searched for a way to more quickly and precisely correlate these coordinates.
Under the new process the patient is scanned only as surgery begins.
The scanning instrument comes with a factory-installed reference coordinates system.
All that is needed is for the patient to be positioned so that the centre of the area to be operated on is exactly at the centre of the imaging device.
This distance therefore becomes a known quantity.
The reference points of the instruments and of the C-bow X-ray device are captured during surgery with a stereo camera, and this data is used to generate constantly updated images of the patient showing the changing positions of the surgeon’s instruments.
The system enables surgeons to correctly position implants, artificial joints and screws.
It can also be used in neurosurgery and operations on the face.
Graumann is more than happy to observe surgical procedures in person. “That enables me to see for myself what the surgeons really need,” he says.