The scope of Augmented Reality technology is so limitless and exciting that it’s hard to resist exploring every possibility and imagining all its potential. Perhaps the most influential and powerful device for this tech, the Microsoft Hololens, is still in its infancy; but with the imminent launch of all the AR headsets through the Windows Holographic platform we will just have to worry because there just aren’t a lot of commercially available devices for the practice of medicine with AR–yet. We at ARinMED would love to see that change soon, and today we’re talking about how that might be possible.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to SCOPIS, one of the pioneers in medical AR. SCOPIS has business operations in Germany and the United States, and the company is known for its focus on technology that facilitates surgical education, planning, and navigation systems for otorhinolaryngology (ENT), craniomaxillofacial (CMF), spinal, and neurosurgical medicine. If you are a physician in one of these specialties, you may have heard of the SCOPIS brand and recognize them as innovators of surgical navigation systems. On May 5th, 2017, SCOPIS presented an incredible new technology for surgery–the Holographic Navigation Platform.
The SCOPIS Holographic Navigation Platform uses the Microsoft HoloLens glasses, which communicate wirelessly with the SCOPIS system. The platform is primarily used for neurosurgery, particularly for spinal surgery. During spinal surgeries, the planed positioning of pedicle screws are projected over the surgeon’s operative field overlaid precisely over the body of the patient. This Mixed Reality experience allows the surgeon to implant screws into their planned position easily, aligning the surgical instruments interactively with the holographic image overlayed.
This is a platform that, if it offers everything that it’s promising to, will allow for greater precision and speed during surgery, and subsequently better outcomes for patients undergoing both open and minimally-invasive spinal procedures. Of course, there are many adjustments that could be made, which might allow the SCOPIS technology to be more applicable to other types of surgeries, such as maxillofacial surgery or even brain surgery. So, what makes SCOPIS so special? Incorporating the Microsoft HoloLens into the SCOPIS Navigation Platform allows surgeons to plan pre, during, and post surgery, monitoring the procedure with millimetric precision to ensure the best results for patients and fewer mistakes.
Of course, there are hurdles to jump before this type of technology is ready for the market. Battery life is important, especially in spinal surgeries, because of the amount of time those types of complex surgeries can take. More studies would need to be performed to determine the accuracy and complexity of the segmentation process, which requires radiologic studies. There are other questions, too. How many doctors can use the system at one time? Would every person in the operating room have the same view in their helmet? Are there plans to develop the SCOPIS for other surgical procedures? We don’t know but we hope to find out more soon. These people are on the front-lines of developing AR technology in a commercial way. We would love to talk to the creators about this, but for now, what do you think about it? Tell us about your thoughts, doubts, and questions in the comments section below!
Categories: Surgery, Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, practice based apps, radiology.