The first spine surgery performed using Apple Vision Pro glasses in London

A team of surgeons at a UK hospital used Apple Vision Pro augmented reality glasses to help perform two spine surgeries, reports the Daily Mail

by Sededin Dedovic
The first spine surgery performed using Apple Vision Pro glasses in London
© Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

The world of medicine and especially surgery is undergoing a dramatic transformation, fueled by the growing field of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology. These impressive technologies are no longer confined to the realm of science fiction; they quickly become invaluable tools in the hands of various professions, and now they have also gained an important role in the world of medicine.

A few days ago, the revolutionary work of Mako SmartRobotics was presented, whose applications help surgeons perform complex hip and knee replacements. This is just one example of the different ways AR/VR is impacting the surgical suite.

Although at the beginning there were questions about how safe it is to rely on such devices, after the first use surgeons were fascinated by the limitless possibilities of this technology. A team of surgeons at a hospital in the UK used Apple Vision Pro augmented reality glasses to help perform two spinal surgeries The worlds of medicine and technology have come together once again, and this time Apple Vision Pro glasses and the surgical team at Cromwell Hospital in London participated in the merger.

Surgeons used augmented and virtual reality glasses to help them perform two microsurgical procedures on the spine. Although the team included surgeons Fadi Sedra and Sayed Aftab, it was nurse Suvi Verho who wore glasses to help them.

She swapped her usual Microsoft HoloLens2 glasses for the Vision Pro, and claims the results were nothing short of revolutionary Daily Mail reports.

People experience a demo of the Apple Vision Pro headset at the Fifth Avenue Apple store on February 02, 2024 in New York City.

© Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

One of the most compelling advantages of AR/VR lies in its ability to improve surgical visualization of the surgical field. Traditional surgery relies heavily on the surgeon's physical sight and tactile sense.

However, AR can overlay key information directly into the surgeon's field of view, such as real-time patient data, anatomical structures hidden beneath the surface, or even the optimal path for a surgical instrument. This allows surgeons to operate with unparalleled precision, minimizing the risk of complications and improving overall patient outcomes.

It's possible

VR simulation: preoperative training on steroids

VR goes one step further by creating fully immersive simulations of surgical procedures. These simulations provide surgeons with a safe and controlled environment to practice complex techniques, perfect hand-eye coordination, and familiarize themselves with specific patient anatomies before entering the operating room.

VR training can even simulate unexpected scenarios, allowing surgeons to hone their decision-making skills under pressure. This preoperative preparation means improved performance, reduced operative time, and potentially faster patient recovery.

Unlike traditional methods where assistants may have to physically locate tools, Vision Pro eliminates potential human error. Using these glasses eliminates human error, takes the guesswork out and gives you confidence in the surgery, Verho explained.

This is not the first time that Verho has used augmented reality (AR) devices in the operating room. She previously used HoloLens 2 glasses in similar interventions, and now points out that Apple Vision Pro offers a significant improvement.

She herself said that this is a great relief, but that you should be careful and wait a little longer. The hospital was introduced to this device by the company "eXeX", which provides technological platforms to hospitals. Surgeon Aftab points out that working with this company has made a huge difference in the way doctors provide care to patients.

The software, he tells Business Insider, is seamless and has improved efficiency within the team. While AR/VR offers tremendous benefits, it is important to acknowledge the challenges that accompany this technological leap.

Cost is the first problem because the implementation and maintenance of AR/VR technology requires significant financial investment. Hospitals and healthcare facilities must weigh the cost-effectiveness of these technologies against their potential benefits.

Seamless integration of AR/VR applications within existing workflows, especially in high-pressure surgical environments, requires careful consideration and training for medical professionals. This is about human lives and it is not easy to give full trust to something that is relatively new in today's world of rapid technological development.

Data security can also be a problem. With increasing reliance on digital information, data security becomes paramount. Robust cybersecurity protocols must be implemented to protect sensitive patient data. These powerful technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way surgeons approach surgery, leading to improved patient outcomes and increased efficiency in the operating room.

The experience of surgeons from Great Britain provides a step forward in the implementation of AR/VR technology, not only in surgery, but also in medicine in general. This is just the beginning, AR/VR technology and artificial intelligence have made a sudden breakthrough in all spheres of society, and the possibilities are unlimited.

Apple London