HoloLens glasses used to operate on cancer patient for first time with augmented reality

Surgeons at Northwick Park, part of London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, have used HoloLens 2 glasses to operate on a cancer patient for the first time with the aid of augmented reality.

HoloLens 2 technology, developed by Microsoft and powered by Medical iSight software, allowed the team led by surgeon Abdul Ahmed to “see through” the patient’s skin by superimposing preoperative scans onto the patient. This enabled them to study the underlying anatomy without making an inclusion.

The procedure took 12 hours and involved two surgical teams, with one team removing the neck glands and diseased jawbone and preparing the patient for the new implant whilst the second team harvested bone from the lower leg to be sculpted into a replacement jaw, with an attached vein and artery.

A “pre-planned surgical model” was downloaded into the HoloLens2 wearer’s headset and moved using voice command and hand gestures, so that the virtual holographic leg was aligned with the patient’s anatomical landmarks and skin.

The trust says that HoloLens technology “has a number of possibilities as well as enhancing the planning and precision needed in reconstructive surgery and improving sterility in theatre”, including “surgical training, simplifying procedures and future developments in 3D telemedicine support”.

Microsoft describe the technology as empowering teams to “work securely and enhance patient treatment reducing time-to-care. With HoloLens 2, health professionals can connect with remote experts, call up patient data and go beyond x-rays to consult MRI images in 3D at the point of care.”

Additional benefits listed by Microsoft include improved efficiency to complete ward rounds and reduced training costs.

In April, HTN reported on South London and Maudsley FT launching AR and VR tech to support needle phobia and anxiety and in South Tees Hospital we covered the use of VR to support staff training.