Discover how surgeons can use Microsoft HoloLens to collaborate and communicate with one another in real-time, regardless of location.
- A recent project explored the benefits of using the Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset during surgery.
- In the project, a surgeon wore a HoloLens headset and used it to collaborate and communicate with colleagues during surgery.
- HoloLens allows surgeons to engage with peers from around the world in real-time and get their input.
- Surgeons can use HoloLens to visualize 3D models that allow them to carefully plan for invasive procedures and minimize patient risk.
- Medical technology is evolving, and new tools like Intravision XR from DICOM Director are helping doctors of all types improve patient outcomes.
Digital collaboration technology in surgery is quickly becoming a must-have. One technology that is still in testing but shows great promise for the future of surgery and medical imaging: The Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headset.
HoloLens leverages a combination of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies to lets surgeons augment their view of the procedure and also engage with their peers in real-time virtual communication. To understand the impact of using HoloLens in surgery, consider a recent shoulder arthroscopy procedure performed by Brazilian orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruno Gobbato.
Reimagining surgery with HoloLens
Gobbato’s patient had a collarbone fracture that did not heal correctly. He needed to perform shoulder arthroscopy to reposition the bone. In addition, Gobbato planned to insert a small camera into his patient’s joint to see what was causing his patient’s shoulder pain.
To prepare for the procedure, Gobbato put on his HoloLens headset. At that point, he was joined remotely by Professor Thomas Gregory (from Paris) and Dr. John Erickson (from New Jersey). Gobbato used the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app to share his field of view with Gregory and Erickson. He also provided them with holographic images from a CT scan that showed the patient’s damaged clavicle and another showing a healthy clavicle.
Together, the trio discussed ways to approach the shoulder arthroscopy. They examined each step of the procedure and shared their respective approaches.
How surgeons around the world can use HoloLens
The aforementioned shoulder arthroscopy is one of several examples that highlight how surgeons can use HoloLens to improve patient outcomes through real-time communication and collaboration. It is part of a Microsoft HoloLens project that took place from November to January, during which a dozen doctors used HoloLens to perform surgery.
In the project, surgeons used HoloLens during a wide range of surgeries — from a knee procedure in the United Arab Emirates to a shoulder replacement in South Africa. In each of these procedures, the surgeon wore a HoloLens headset and Gregory joined them remotely. Thanks to HoloLens, Gregory was able to observe the surgeons’ actions and provide input.
HoloLens: “The smartphone for surgeons”
The project is being used to showcase the benefits of HoloLens as “the smartphone for surgeons,” Gregory says. This is especially true when it comes to planning for surgery.
For example, a surgeon can use HoloLens to visualize a holographic representation of a patient’s anatomy. The hologram can be used as many times as a surgeon would like to help determine the precise techniques necessary to successfully perform the procedure.
Medical students can benefit from the HoloLens as well. Previously, they would have to watch a surgeon perform a procedure dozens of times before they were allowed to do the same. With HoloLens, students can engage with interactive 3D models of any surgical procedure. They can use these models to practice different surgeries and understand the complications associated with them. At the same time, they can perform various surgeries without compromising the safety of real-world patients.
Using HoloLens for real-time communication and collaboration
Smartphones provide fast, easy access to information that people often use to perform daily work. Yet, surgeons perform complex procedures in sterile operating rooms. This means a surgeon cannot pick up their phone and look up information on it like workers do in other professions. Instead, a surgeon typically has to plan each stage of a surgery in advance and commit it to memory. Once surgery gets underway, a surgeon likely has little to no access to patient data or other resources.
Like a smartphone, HoloLens provides surgeons with quick, easy access to information. A surgeon wearing a HoloLens headset can use hand gestures and voice commands to display 3D holographic images of a patient’s anatomy visualized from X-rays or other scans. Meanwhile, other surgeons can view these images from different angles. They can then provide input to the surgeon performing the procedure.
HoloLens gives surgeons seamless access to patient data during surgery, too. It enables surgeons to retrieve videos or documents without having to step away from their patient and look them up on their smartphone. Surgeons can even use the HoloLens to contact other specialists to get real-time assistance during a procedure.
What HoloLens means for the future of medicine
HoloLens highlights the possibilities of AR in medicine. Along with other technologies, it’s helping surgeons and other medical professionals work smarter, faster, and more efficiently than ever before. DICOM Director can help visualize those images with Intravision XR, which lets users visualize fully formed 3D models from MRIs, CT scans, and other datasets.
Intravision XR automates the process of creating highly detailed 3D models. These models are anatomically correct both internally and externally and are viewable from AR, VR, or standard screens. To learn more about Intravision XR, please contact us today.