A German surgeon has used an iPad with augmented reality software running on it to assist in a liver operation in Bremen, Germany, reports Reuters.

The iPad camera was used to photograph the liver, while the iPad app overlayed a virtual 3D model of the pre-op plan. Want to see what that looks like? Make sure you’re not eating anything before you look at the photos below the fold … 


I did warn you. And there’s worse:

42af6b35-46a4-4797-bc6b-1395286e74bc_RTX12REG The key benefit of the app is enabling the surgeon to make the cuts in precisely the right places to minimize blood loss. Traditionally, the locations of blood vessels are mapped and taken into the operating room in printout form.

“With our new app now allows all planning data directly show the operating table,” says MEVIS computer scientist Alexander Köhn. Upon engagement in Hamburg, the doctors took advantage of another feature of the new app: With the built-in camera of the tablet they were the liver during the OP filming. Then the real image it appears the data of the planning software – a ramified network of vascular systems, shown in different colors. “With this feature, we can almost see into the body and make the tumors and the vascular system visible,” says Prof. Dr. Karl Oldhafer, Head of the Department of General and Visceral Surgery, Asklepios Hospital in Hamburg Barmbek. This facilitates comparison of whether the interference was run as previously planned. “With the new technology, we expect a better implementation of computer-aided surgical planning for tumor removal,” said Oldhafer. “The method has great potential. One can imagine it being used in the operation of other organs such as the pancreas. ” the basic version of the app was developed in collaboration with Alexander Köhn doctors at the University Hospital Yokohama. There she was first tested in late 2012 during an operation. “The Japanese surgeons were very impressed by the capabilities of the system,” says Koehn. “They hope that this will reduce the complication and can shorten hospital stays.” For future interventions, the app offers more interesting possibilities:

  • By simple marking on the touchscreen, the doctor can measure how long is a piece of container to be removed. Thus it can be estimated more accurately if he can sew together the remaining ends or must use another piece of container.
  • After the surgeon has removed certain vessels, he can delete function on the touch screen with an “eraser”. The severed vessels disappear from the picture, and give a view on the underlying structures freely.
  • If it is found during surgery, to remove the tumor is larger than expected, the surgeon must make other arrangements spontaneously. Here, too, can help the MEVIS App: If additional vessels are removed, it calculates which parts of the liver would therefore no longer sufficient blood supply. This allows the surgeon better assess whether the remaining organ volume is large enough so that the patient survived.

A very cool use of technology and possibly something we’ll see Google Glass doing too sometime soon.

Thanks, Marco

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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