The new device – an augmented reality headset – will enable surgeons to see a virtual three-dimensional map of a patient’s internal organs overlaid directly onto their body as they lie on an operating table. The system has been tested using data from people projected onto a surgical mannequin during simulated operations (see photo, above).
Using Microsoft’s HoloLens headset, Cambridge Consultants has developed a highly intuitive AR surgical system that equips surgeons with ‘X-ray vision’ – making it possible to see inside a patient in real time, while operating through minimally invasive openings.
Having the correct information in the right place at the right time is essential for successful surgery, yet the operating theatre is typically a very busy environment with limited access to any type of real-time imaging. The advanced system demonstrated by Cambridge Consultants also uses data visualisation to give surgeons easy access to patient records and operating information while they work.
Minimally invasive surgery – so-called keyhole surgery – is often complex yet performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. The next-generation AR system provides a real-time 3D interactive perspective of the inside of the patient, accurately guiding the surgeon in ways not previously possible.
“AR has the potential to fundamentally change the surgical experience by giving the surgeon a new dimension of information in an easy-to-use way,” said Simon Karger, head of surgical and interventional products at Cambridge Consultants. “While today’s platforms still need to mature before they are ready for clinical deployment, it is clear to us that the underlying technology holds great promise for critical applications like surgery.