A team of surgeons at New England Baptist Hospital has recently made history by successfully performing the first AR-guided hip replacement surgery in the world.
A new intra-operative AR guidance platform called HipInsight, Microsoft HoloLens 2 mixed reality headsets, and a special tracker were used to project real-time information about the patient’s unique anatomy onto their body while the surgeons were operating.
“What this does is it takes all the critical three-dimensional information of that patient and puts it right where you want it, when you want it, in real-time,” said Dr. Steven Murphy, the creator of HipInsight. “The HipInsight system enables surgeons to stay focused on the patient, projecting holograms on AR glasses that effectively give them ‘x-ray vision,’ so that surgeons can see what they need to see, when they need to see it, right inside the patient’s body,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration greenlighted HipInsight in January, and its recent practical application paves the way for other applications of the platform, such as knee replacement. Because Murphy’s brainchild is inexpensive to implement and requires very little training, he is hopeful that patients in other countries will soon benefit from it as well.
“Little differences turn out to be big differences for the patient. Being able to lock in and be sure that everything you’re doing is exactly what you planned and you’re accomplishing exactly what you’re setting out to do, is a difference-maker for surgery,” explained Murphy.
Besides helping experienced surgeons perform complicated surgeries more accurately, similar AR and VR-based systems could also be used to train future generations of doctors in a safe environment where mistakes have no lasting consequences.