Augmented reality used in sinus surgery for first time

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Canadian surgeons have used a new technology that combines augmented reality and mixed reality to perform sinus surgery, becoming the first in North America to do so. The technology incorporates patient scans taken beforehand so that, during surgery, the surgeon knows exactly where they are. The system can also overlay the image shown by the endoscope camera during surgery with augmented reality signs to help the surgeon map out what route to take and to help them avoid hitting important areas like the optic nerve.

Organisation/s: McGill University Health Centre

Media Release

From: McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

MUHC takes augmented reality into the operating room

Leading-edge technology provides a new and safer approach to otorhinolaryngology surgery

Montreal, May 31, 2017 – New technology using augmented reality and mixed-reality is assisting surgeons with planning and real-time positioning in patients who require ear, nose and throat surgery. The state-of-the-art technology, known as Target Guided Surgery (TGS), aims to improve patient outcomes and safety in this complex surgery, which is performed in close proximity to the optic nerve and the brain. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is the first institution in North America to use augmented and mixed reality in sinus surgery.

TGS integrates seamlessly with the operating room video endoscopy system and provides the clinical team with unique abilities to perform and observe the surgery. The technology, which is created by Berlin-based tech-company Scopis, can also be used in craniofacial, spinal and neurological operations. Scopis chose the MUHC as a centre of reference for TGS because of the institution’s expertise in otorhinolaryngology surgery and strong educational focus.

Dr. Marc Tewfik, MUHC director of Rhinology and assistant professor in the department of Otolaryngology at McGill University, performed the first surgery using this unique and highly advanced navigation system.  “One of the main benefits of using TGS is the ability to identify critical anatomical structures and to plan the safe placement of surgical instruments,” said Dr. Tewfik. “Endoscopic sinus surgery is particularly complex and in addition to improving safety, this technology reduces surgical time.”

A video highlighting the technological advantages can be found here:

“Surgical planning, as well as the actual surgery, can be recorded by the Scopis system. This feature turns any operation into educational content that we can use to teach residents,” said Dr. Nader Sadeghi, who is chair and chief of the McGill and MUHC departments of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. “This technology supports our focus on education and in using innovative solutions for complex medical challenges.”

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements on top of existing reality in order to provide additional information and to allow interaction.

Mixed reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.


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