No surgical procedure is without risk, even the most routine. This is why doctors take advantage of any development that can assist in minimising those risks. The rise of mixed reality (MR) technology like the Microsoft HoloLens is giving doctors a new tool in the fight to save lives.
Surgical teams like ones at Imperial College London are using the HoloLens MR system in operating theatres in order to get a better picture of what is in store before a single incision is even made.
By taking CT scans that have previously been taken and overlaying them on top of the patient in the operating theatre, surgeons can get a much clearer idea of where key blood vessels, bones and muscles are located, allowing procedures to be quicker and safer.
Procedures that have been successfully completed with the aid of MR technology include a delicate operation to move blood vessels from one part of the body to another to help open wounds heal. Patients who have benefited from this include a man who injured his leg in a car crash, an 85-year-old woman who fractured her tibia and someone who developed an infection that required surgery.
Surgeons such as Dr Philip Pratt from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London say the HoloLens technology allows surgeons to understand each patient’s unique anatomy: “To perform the best operation, you have to plan it meticulously beforehand. This technology allows us to experience the data that we have collected from patients before their operation in the most realistic and natural way. You look at the leg and essentially see inside of it; you see the bones and the course of the blood vessels.”
James Kinross, a consultant colorectal surgeon at St Mary’s Hospital added that the knowledge accessible using the HoloLens could be crucial for the success of an operation: “You don’t want to make an incision and find out that you should be two centimetres over here, because that might compromise the operation. This is all about best outcome for the patient,” he said.
A demonstration of the HoloLens technology in use for surgery can be viewed below. VRFocus will continue to bring you the latest news on new applications for immersive technology.