How Augmented and Virtual Reality is Playing a Major Role in Surgery

By Peter Salib Peter Salib has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on September 18, 2018

Imagine a world where doctors could figure out how much they need to tuck away by simply checking an Oculus Rift. Or more impressively, imagine a world where medical students could train for their careers through the use of augmented reality, or where doctors would be able to find cancer cells through a quick scan.

From Science to Reality

Though it sounds like science fiction, it’s quickly becoming the reality that we live in. Thanks to amazing advances in the field of augmented reality, people around the world are finding their jobs to be easier than ever before. In recent years, augmented reality has been used to create tutorials in factories, help work out issues in warehouses, and even market real estate to people. This was a much needed and advanced application for this technology which was previously being used for marketing and sales purposes.

Augmented reality uses technology to blur the lines between “meatspace” and the virtual space. A good example of this would be using your cell phone to see visual guides from Google Maps on your phone’s camera view of the street as you walk to the store. Or, if you could lift your phone to see a basketball player’s stats as he slam dunks a basket. The most recent field to find uses in augmented reality is the medical world—and it’s become a hugely successful hit. More specifically, doctors are now starting to use the Microsoft HoloLens to better perform their surgeries.

In the plastic surgery world, more doctors than ever before have started to look into the use of augmented reality. Microsoft’s HoloLens, in particular, has become a valued tool in among plastic surgeons.

By using the tech behind augmented reality, surgeons can compare the potential results of surgery with the 3D rendering of clients’ desired results. This, in turn, allows them to create changes to a person’s appearances that more accurately line up with clients’ goals. It also reduces the amount of time that patients spend on the operating table.

The way it works is simple: doctors create a 3D image of the ideal patient outcome using morphing software, then overlay it on the actual patient’s face through the HoloLens’s technology. Then, they work to match the 3D rendered image with the actual patient’s face.

The HoloLens doesn’t interfere with a doctor’s ability to see the patient, nor does it interfere with a doctor’s ability to move freely in the surgical room. All it does is offer visual guidance on the procedure and help reduce the risk of a botched surgery.

HoloLens is Now a Medical Tool

Out of NYU, one of the pioneers of the practice, Dr. Phillip J. Miller, has been using the HoloLens to create better results for his clients. The results he has seen from including the HoloLens as a guide on his procedures have been amazing.

The reason why Dr. Miller started using it was to decrease patient anxiety, but so far, it’s done so much more than that. According to Dr. Miller, there has been a 20 percent decrease in operating room time, and a 25% increase in patient satisfaction.

Dr. Miller has been nothing short of thrilled to see the benefits of augmented reality, and embraces it as the new vanguard of medical care. In fact, he regularly speculates on where AR will be in 10 years from now.

When asked where the role of virtual and augmented reality will go, Dr. Miller seemed to be fairly confident that it will be here to stay. He explained, “Augmented reality is the new wave of the future. This technology is already proving itself to be incredibly useful in the medical world. In the future, you will see most doctors use this to improve their services—cosmetic or otherwise.”  Both Virtual and Augmented Reality have been utilized in the Plastic Surgery space as more of way to see how you may look without getting surgery, but cutting edge surgeons like Dr. Miller are using as a tool to increase actual patient satisfaction during the actual surgery itself.

By Peter Salib Peter Salib has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Peter Salib is a Tech Columnist at Grit Daily. Based in New Jersey, he is an avid participant of events nationwide who's attended CES in Las Vegas consecutively since 2013. Peter is the host and producer of Show & Tell, a product showcase YouTube channel and also works at Gadget Flow, a leading product discovery platform reaching 31M consumers every month. Peter frequently works with startups on media, content writing, events, and sales. His dog, Scruffy, was a guest product model on the Today Show with Kathy Lee & Hoda in 2018 and was dubbed "Scruffy the Wonder Dog.”

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