Through the keyhole: AR headset gives surgeons new insights during operations

Cambridge Consultants are utilising Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headset in a bid to give surgeons a real-time view inside a patient during keyhole surgery.

Having the correct information is essential for successful surgery, yet the operating theatre is typically a very busy environment with limited access to any type of real-time imaging. The advanced system demonstrated by Cambridge Consultants uses data visualisation to give surgeons easy access to patient records and operating information while they work.

Minimally invasive surgery – or keyhole surgery – is often complex yet performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. The next-generation AR system provides a real-time 3D interactive perspective of the inside of the patient, accurately guiding the surgeon in ways not previously possible.

“AR has the potential to fundamentally change the surgical experience by giving the surgeon a new dimension of information in an easy-to-use way,” said Simon Karger, head of surgical and interventional products at Cambridge Consultants. “While today’s platforms still need to mature before they are ready for clinical deployment, it is clear to us that the underlying technology holds great promise for critical applications like surgery.

“This innovative development is the result of our extensive experience of surgical equipment innovation and our understanding of the operating theatre environment and workflow. It has the potential to enable more surgeons to carry out complex operations at lower risk and with better results for patients.”

Cambridge Consultants has also unveiled Axsis – one of the smallest known robots for surgical use. With instruments 1.8mm in diameter, the technology demonstrator used cataract surgery as an example of a procedure that could benefit from miniature robotics in the future.