New advances in visualization technology are helping surgeons prepare for procedures, treat patients, and enhance their skills.
- Surgeons can use advanced visualization technology to go beyond computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans for medical imaging.
- With advanced visualization technology, surgeons can use 3D models to prepare for procedures quickly and efficiently.
- Advanced visualization technology helps surgeons educate patients about treatments and improve the patient experience.
- Medical students can use advanced visualization technology to get hands-on surgery experience without the use of cadavers.
- Augmented reality (AR) headsets and other advanced visualization technologies are helping surgeons today, and the number of these technologies to be deployed will likely increase in the near future.
The days of reading 2D computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) films could be drawing to a close. Now, surgeons and other practitioners can leverage advanced visualization technology to give those images real-life depth and context that is changing medicine.
An in-depth look at advanced visualization technology in medicine
Advanced visualization technology is not yet FDA approved, but holds immense promise for all kinds of practitioners. For one, it ensures surgeons no longer have to rely on paper-thin images to develop surgery plans for the heart, kidneys, and other organs. Instead, the technology allows them to use detailed 3D models built on those scans to get an anatomically correct, 3D view of the actual anatomy they’ll be treating.
The benefits to surgeons utilizing advanced visualization technology include:
1. Surgery prep
Advanced visualization technology will one day allow surgeons to take a CT scan and MRI and display them as 3D models. They can use an app or a virtual reality (VR) headset to view these images from different angles. This allows them to closely evaluate the treatment area and surrounding tissue. Surgeons will be able to use these insights to determine the best approach to a procedure. They can also put together a comprehensive surgery plan that minimizes the risk of complications and speeds up the treatment process.
2. Patient education
As a communication tool, surgeons can use advanced visualization technology to help explain the ins and outs of a procedure to a patient. The technology lets surgeons use 3D models that highlight different organs in the patient’s body, so they can explain the severity of a medical issue and how a procedure can be used to correct it. Therefore, advanced visualization technology can help a patient make an informed treatment decision.
3. Patient trust
Along with patient education, advanced visualization technology can help a surgeon foster trust with their patients. For example, a patient may feel uncertain about a procedure after viewing CT scans or MRIs from their surgeon. But advanced visualization technology lets a surgeon use 3D models to describe the benefits and risks of a procedure. At this point, the technology can foster communication and collaboration between the surgeon and patient, as both parties can discuss the procedure and weigh its pros and cons. If the patient decides to undergo surgery, he or she can take solace in the fact that their surgeon did everything in their power to explain the procedure in detail.
4. Informed consent
A patient must provide informed consent before undergoing surgery. This verifies that a surgeon has taught their patient about a procedure, and the patient understands the benefits, risks, and alternatives associated with it. With advanced visualization technology, a surgeon can use 3D models to help explain all aspects of a procedure and ensure that the patient fully understands the surgery, making for a smoother informed consent process.
5. Medical student training
Sourcing cadavers that medical students can use to gain hands-on surgery experience can be expensive and time-intensive. Advanced visualization technology could eliminate the need for cadavers or patients for surgery training. The technology can be used to produce 3D models of body parts that medical students can use for practice. As such, advanced visualization technology could soon help teach a wide range of surgeries without cadavers.
What advanced visualization technologies for medicine are available?
Augmented reality (AR) has been a difference-maker in terms of advanced visualization technology. Surgeons are beginning to test ways using AR headsets to superimpose digital information into the real world could impact their practice. For example, a surgeon wearing an AR headset could overlay a 3D digital model of a CT scan onto a patient. The surgeon can use the overlay to analyze the patient’s anatomy before making an incision. He or she can also use the overlay to accurately perform the procedure and minimize the risk of complications.
The Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset has been a top choice for surgeons in search of advanced visualization technology. A surgeon can wear a HoloLens headset and use it to receive comprehensive patient insights before and during a procedure and still clearly see the real world they’re operating in. Plus, the headset can provide seamless access to other medical professionals from around the world, which ensures the surgeon can get additional opinions as needed.
Artificial intelligence (AI) recently has been integrated into medical imaging technology as well. The technology can be used to quickly identify anomalies in medical images. This can help evaluate these images more accurately and efficiently.
AI can be used in conjunction with machine learning, too. Together, AI and machine learning can build algorithms to identify important features of an image. These algorithms could help surgeons provide patients with personalized treatment recommendations.
The bottom line on advanced visualization technology in medicine
Advanced visualization technology could soon empower surgeons to bolster patient care and support and improve patient outcomes.
DICOM Director offers the Intravision XR 3D model medical software tool to surgeons who are ready to leverage advanced visualization technology. Intravision XR allows you to visualize 3D models from CT scans and MRIs and view them in augmented or virtual reality environments. To learn more about Intravision XR, contact us today.