As we’ve seen over the last few years the development of immersive technology within the healthcare space has continued at a pace. With all three main recognised branches – virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) – already playing some form of role.
So far this year alone the Boston Children’s Hospital has been using VR to explain complex medical proceedures in a way children will be able to understand them. We spoke to the creators of Nomadeec who are now utilising MR and the Microsoft Hololens as part of their ever developing patient support system for staff. Australian researchers are looking to visualisation in VR as the next step in their creation of a virtual cancer tissue biobank. Meanwhile the University of Alberta meanwhile has been looking into how AR could possibly help by reducing the need for exploratory surgery.
The latest announcement as to how it is being utilised comes from sinus surgeons at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. Memorial Hermann having appeared once before on VRFocus back in 2016. This time it’s AR which is being used, with a case at the beginning of the month where surgery was performed by Martin J. Citardi. Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
“Augmented reality, which uses 3-D mapping and imagery, enhances our understanding of complex anatomy so surgical procedures are more precise,” He explained. “The addition of augmented reality to a surgical navigation serves as a GPS-like system and offers patients the benefits of minimally invasive surgery with lower risks and better outcomes.”
The AR and mapping was utilised to successfully perform ‘revision image-guided functional endoscopic sinus surgery for recurrent chronic rhinosinusitis’ as well as helping to remove a complicated blockage from the sinuses. Performed through use of Stryker’s Scopis Target Guided Surgery (TGS) technology. TGS overlays the planning onto the surgeon’s endoscopic view of the surgical area, assisting the surgeon in helping to follow the previously defined path and avoiding any potentially critical areas.
“This system also allows easy recording of both the surgery and surgical planning. Such digital content will be important for training of surgeons in the difficult area of endoscopic sinus surgery. This will ultimately benefit patients.” Citardi declared.
VRFocus will continue to report on immersive developments within the medtech space.