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Surgeons use mixed reality to add a virtual twist to 21st-century operations

These mixed reality headsets allow medical professionals from around the globe to virtually attend operations and provide insights during procedures.


Image: Microsoft

Organizations around the globe are using mixed reality and augmented reality (AR) via smart glasses to transform traditional workflows for both on-site employees and those collaborating from afar. For example, Lockheed Martin employees are using Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 mixed reality headsets to help assemble Orion spacecraft, a key component of NASA’s Artemis program. These mixed reality headsets are also enabling medical professionals from around the globe to virtually collaborate during procedures for a 21st century take on surgical operations.

Microsoft Hololens 2: Mixed reality surgery

On Feb. 9, Microsoft published a blog post illustrating how its HoloLens 2 headsets were providing a high-tech twist on traditional operating room procedures. The post details a use-case involving surgeon Dr. Bruno Gobbato as he prepared for an arthroscopic surgical operation in Brazil.

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In the operating room, Gobbato donned his HoloLens 2 headset and was joined by surgeons Thomas Gregory and John Erickson, who were virtually attending from Paris and New Jersey, respectively, according to the post.

Using the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app and Microsoft Teams, Gregory and Erickson were able to see Gobbato’s view via headset, “holographic images Gobbato generated from a CT scan” as well as discuss steps in the procedure and share “their respective approaches,” according to Microsoft.

“They were my partners helping me with the surgery,” Gobbato said in the blog post. “We had a French perspective, we had an American perspective and we had a Latin American perspective. We had one-quarter of the world inside the operating room.”

Overall, the mixed reality surgical endeavor is part of a project to demonstrate the ways the HoloLens 2 is able to “benefit surgeons” and enable remote collaboration opportunities. In 2017, Gobbato performed the world’s first surgery using the HoloLens, according to Microsoft, and from November to January, a dozen doctors used these mixed reality headsets to perform surgeries including “a knee procedure” and a shoulder replacement.

SEE: Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 smart glasses offer AR experiences across industries (TechRepublic)

Surgeons are able to control the HoloLens capabilities using both voice-commands and hand motions to access holographic 3D anatomical images of patients, view information or videos “to help solve problems,” seek advice from other specialists, and more, according to Microsoft.

“I really think mixed reality will be used in the operating room for so many things in the future,” Gobbato said. “I’m very excited to see what we will be able to do with it in the next few years.”

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This post was written by and was first posted to TechRepublic

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