- Medical imaging company Novarad announced FDA clearance for its OpenSight augmented reality system for use in preoperative surgical planning. The system is designed for use with Microsoft HoloLens, a headset with a fully self-contained holographic computer.
- OpenSight produces interactive images of patients in 2D, 3D and 4D and overlays them onto the patient's body, allowing physicians to simultaneously see patients and see inside them for surgical planning.
- During preoperative planning, doctors can highlight areas requiring repair and anatomical structures to avoid and position virtual tools and guidance systems to optimize the surgical approach, the Salt Lake City-based company said.
Use of augmented reality to improve surgical outcomes is growing. Earlier this year, surgeons at Memorial Hermann Medical Center and the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston announced the first sinus surgery in the U.S. using AR. The minimally invasive procedure was performed using Stryker's Scopis Target Guided Surgery technology.
AR differs from virtual reality in that users can see what's actually taking place in front of and around them, as well as the augmented images. In VR, users lose that real-world perspective.
The OpenSight system enables multiple headsets to be shared during preoperative planning and procedures. There is also a teaching version of the software for use in medical schools. Spokeswoman Kristi Alvarado said the system is currently in use at several universities and teaching hospitals across the U.S.
"This is transformative technology that will unite preoperative imaging with augmented reality to improve the precision, speed and safety of medical procedures," Wendell Gibby, Novarad CEO and co-creator of OpenSight, said in a statement. "This internal visualization can now be achieved without the surgeon ever making an incision, improving outcomes in a world of more precise medicine."
Microsoft's HoloLens technology has been billed as the "world’s first self-contained holographic computer." It runs on Windows 10 and doesn't require wires, phones or a PC connection.
Cigna was the first company to use HoloLens, offering patients a holographic-enabled gamed called BioBall that aims to make healthcare screenings more fun.