One day in mid-December, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruno Gobbato walked into an operating room in Jaraguá do Sul, Brazil, put on a HoloLens 2 mixed-reality headset and prepared for surgery.
Joining him remotely were fellow surgeons Professor Thomas Gregory, who was tuning in from Paris, and Dr. John Erickson, who is based in New Jersey. Gobbato’s patient had a collarbone fracture that hadn’t healed properly, so Gobbato needed to reposition the bone and perform a shoulder arthroscopy, which involved inserting a small camera into the joint to try to determine what was causing the man’s shoulder pain.
Gregory and Erickson were linked to Gobbato’s headset via the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app and shared his field of view on their computer screens through Microsoft Teams. They could see the patient and the holographic images Gobbato generated from a CT scan, one showing the patient’s damaged clavicle and another replicating his healthy clavicle. The three surgeons on three continents discussed how to approach the procedure, conferring on each step and sharing their respective approaches.
“They were my partners helping me with the surgery,” Gobbato says. “We had a French perspective, we had an American perspective and we had a Latin American perspective. We had one-quarter of the world inside the operating room.”
The procedure was part of a project aimed at showing how HoloLens 2 can benefit surgeons and enable collaboration between doctors worldwide. Conceived by Gregory, who in 2017 performed the first surgery using the original HoloLens, the initiative involved orthopedic surgeons from 13 countries on five continents.
Between November and January, 12 of the doctors used HoloLens to perform a surgery — ranging from a knee procedure in the United Arab Emirates to a shoulder replacement in South Africa — while the others, joined by Gregory, took turns sitting in to observe and offer input. The project culminates today with a series of roundtable discussions and interviews around the intersection of mixed-reality technology and its impact on health care.
Image Credit: Microsoft