NOV 24, 2015 12:50 PM PST

Virtual Reality Technology Successfully Used in Cardiac Surgery

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
The next generation of surgery technology has arrived: virtual reality in the operating room! A report recently published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology describes the successful cardiac surgery performed by doctors at the Institute of Cardiology in Warsaw, Poland. 

Using the Google Glass technology of "augmented reality" combined with a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and an x-ray technology called coronary computed tomography angigraphy (CTA), surgeons successfully completed a difficult surgery on a 49 year-old man, implanting two stents to help block cell proliferation. 

When coronary arteries become occluded (narrowed), doctors perform PCI to open them back up. Complete occlusion is difficult for surgeons to visualize and navigate. The procedure involves a small balloon attached to the end of a catheter that reinflates the occluded portion of the artery. A stent is inserted to keep the artery permanently inflated. 

Prior to the enhanced imaging and 3-dimensional capabilities of connecting CTA technology with the Google Glass, the PCI procedure was difficult to complete and had unpredictable success rates. CTA technology uses x-rays to help surgeons non-invasively visualize the arteries during surgery, and the head-mounted Google Glass worn by the surgeon massively improves their accuracy when targeting the occluded artery. 

"Wearable devices can improve operator comfort and procedure efficiency in interventional cardiology," lead investigator Dr. Maksymilian P. Opolski said.

However, these enhancements are far from being commonly used in cardiac surgery since the technology is so expensive and surgeons must receive ample training on how to use it. 

Nevertheless, virtual reality is inevitably the future of surgical operations, and it's only a matter of time before it become useful in all realms of medicine.

Watch the following video to see how a percutaneous coronary intervention is done: 

Source: Medical News Today
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
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