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Archive November 2018 XIX, No. 11

The Future of 3D Imaging Is Now

Surgeons are using augmented reality and heads-up displays to plan and perform better surgery.

Mike Morsch

Mike Morsch, Associate Editor


Michele Eve Sandberg
FLASH FORWARD Rafael Grossmann, MD, wowed the audience at OR Excellence with examples of how 3D imaging and augmented reality could help surgeons plan for more effective surgeries.

Last month, Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS, stood on the main stage at OR Excellence, slipped on the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset and peered out into crowd. The general surgeon and self-proclaimed techie from Bangor, Maine, told the rapt audience of surgical administrators that their surgeons would someday use the HoloLens to reference and interact with computer-generated 3D holographs of patients’ anatomy.

It didn’t take long for the healthcare futurist’s prophesy to come true. Just a few weeks later, the FDA granted 510(K) clearance to Novarad’s OpenSight Augmented Reality System for use during surgical planning. Surgeons upload pre-op MRI or CT scans into the system and use the HoloLens to view 3D images of patient-specific anatomy. The technology, which displays the images in anatomically correct locations on the patient, is designed to let surgeons highlight target landmarks, identify critical structures to avoid and program image-guidance systems to map out the most accurate and effective surgical approach.

“Working with digital or video images that look very much like what you see with your own eyes lets you immerse yourself in the image,” says Dr. Grossmann. “And the more immersed you are in the image, the more you’re able to conduct experiential learning.”

It will take time before planning for surgery with augmented reality becomes mainstream, but 3D video is already catching the eye of progressive surgeons in high-tech ORs.

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