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December 15, 2020 Tuesday 03:50:53 PM IST

Augmented reality in surgery

Science Innovations

A team at Balgrist University Hospital successfully completed the first holographically navigated spine surgery. The technology was developed at Balgrist University Hospital as part of a project involving ETH Zurich researchers. After years of research, augmented reality (AR) arrived in the operating theatre. With this, an eminent milestone has been reached. The first ever holographically navigated spine surgery with direct navigation was performed at Balgrist University Hospital at the beginning of December 2020, the university hospital announced.

Mazda Farshad, Surgeon in Chief and Spine Surgeon, carried out the procedure with the help of AR glasses (HoloLens 2). With this first procedure, a randomized controlled clinical study is kicked off to verify the benefit of this surgical innovation. The world-​first study marks the peak of the University Medicine Zurich flagship project SURGENT, conducted and led by Mazda Farshad and Mirko Meboldt, Professor and Head of the Product Development Group at ETH Zurich, with strong involvement of Philipp Fürnstahl, Professor at the University of Zurich, alumnus of ETH Zurich and head of the ROCS research team (Research in Orthopedic Computer Science) at Balgrist University Hospital.
AR enhances the surgeon's senses

Using CT imaging, 3D representations of the affected anatomy are generated and directly projected into the surgical field overlaying the real anatomy during the operation. With this, surgeons can see the patient's 3D anatomy. The AR navigation software guides critical step of the surgery. For example, the exact insertion point and trajectory of a screw is shown directly on the patient's anatomy.

The patient suffered of lower lumbar spine degeneration, a significantly narrowed spinal canal and corresponding strong pain and sensory disorders in the legs. His symptoms were gone after surgery and is doing well.


(Content Courtesy: https://ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2020/12/augmented-reality-im-operationssaal.html)

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