Digital for all now

Using augmented reality to assist surgeons

Econocom 14 Dec 2015

In a world’s first, Google Glass helped save the life of a patient in Poland whose heart artery was blocked. Using the eye-wearable device, Doctor Maksymilian Opolski successfully carried out a complex procedure, thanks to real-time access to information on the artery and a 3D image of the area to be operated on.


So is Google Glass the new must-have gadget for surgeons? Already used to share live operations with surgeons on the other side of the world, the device can now be used to perform augmented procedures.


In Warsaw, a team of surgeons used the glasses to repair a heart artery that was completely blocked. The 49-year-old patient had little hope of a successful outcome as the procedure in question, a coronary angioplasty, was particularly complex as it was difficult to see the blockage with standard medical imaging tools.



Wearables CAN optimise THE efficIENCY OF SURGICAL procedures


The Polish surgical team used Google Glass and a specific app offering a 3-D view of the area to repair and a voice recognition feature enabling the surgeons to zoom in and browse from image to image whilst maintaining the necessary sterile conditions. For Dr. Opolski of the Department of Interventional Cardiology and Angiology at the Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, wearables could considerably facilitate surgical procedures in the future, as he explained to UPI:


“Wearable devices can improve operator comfort and procedure efficiency in interventional cardiology.”


After meeting with only moderate success with the general public since its launch in 2012, Google Glass is now targeting the professional market. Despite still being at the early stages, the technology could potentially revolutionise the healthcare sector. In addition to surgery, the glasses could enable doctors to view or fill out patient’s medical notes in real time, leaving them more time to spend with patients. The device can also be used for doctors in remote rural areas to share images and thus obtain a more accurate diagnosis. So will country doctors soon be eschewing their monocle for a pair of Google Glass?



Read our other articles on the healthcare sector:

eHealth: doctors and patients get better connected

Raphael Master, Microsoft: hospitals should industrialise their digital transformation

Research makes breakthroughs with virtual reality

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