Augmented Reality Surgery using iPads
Tablet computers are being used more in clinical medicine, and surgery is no exception. A recent article by a Reuters journalist documents the experimental use of an iPad with augmented reality during a liver tumour resection surgery.
Augmented reality is the use of a device’s camera and other sensors to visualise supplemented information, in this case the blood supply of the liver. Augmented reality has already been widely used in other fields including interior design, navigation and tourism. In this surgery, information about the blood supply was first obtained using a CT scan, then using software developed by Fraunhofer MEVIS, the operator is able to determine the location of the tumour itself, along with the blood vessels surrounding it.
Similar systems are already utilised in surgery, such as neuronavigation in neurosurgery and knee joint replacements in orthopaedics, however this is the first time where an iPad is utilised instead of the navigation machines, which are often extremely large. This would potentially save much money and convenience for future surgeries.