Augmented reality puts holograms, data at fingertips of surgeons

Across many orthopedic subspecialties, surgeons are experiencing a taste of the future in the OR with the use of augmented reality.

Although augmented reality (AR) can be found in the published literature starting in the late 1990s and early 2000s, George S. Athwal, MD, of Western University in London, Ontario, Canada, noted the use of AR in orthopedic surgery began as a “one off.”

“[Augmented reality] in the 1990s did not take off because it was so new and so clunky,” Athwal, who presently uses Blueprint Mixed Reality Technology (Stryker), told Orthopedics Today, adding that many more AR systems have become commercially available within the last 2 years.

“All of a sudden, the technology is becoming more adaptable because it is user friendly and it is mass produced,” Athwal said.

Expansion potential

Currently used in total hip, knee and shoulder replacement, as well as certain spine surgery procedures, sources who spoke with Orthopedics Today said the use of AR could be expanded to include other surgical procedures.

“You could make an argument to use it on everything, because any time you are adding information, you are adding value to the surgeon,” Jonathan M. Vigdorchik, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery, said.

With the use of computer navigation and robotics in orthopedic surgery in the last few decades, Vigdorchik said AR is the “next step toward a small profile, easy to use, efficient, low-cost computer-aided technology.” Although orthopedic surgeons have traditionally used techniques that involved “eyeballing” implant placement, AR provides surgeons with information during each step of the procedure, according to Vigdorchik.

“That is the key function of all these different technologies. When you are going to cut something, instead of closing one eye, eyeballing it, lining it up with your hand or some metal rod, you are doing it with the latest technological advances and it is giving you information at the time that you need it,” Vigdorchik said.

By Casey Tingle | Orthopedics Today

Image Credit: Jonathan Tufts


About Peter Coffaro 510 Articles
Peter Coffaro is a growth-driven and strategic executive with over 25 years of progressive management success in the medical device industry. With a proven track record and recognized expertise, Peter has established himself as one of the top influencers in medical sales, as acknowledged by prestigious publications such as the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and Throughout his career, Peter has accumulated 10 years of combined sales management experience, excelling in various roles including Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. He has worked for industry-leading orthopedic companies such as Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker, solidifying his deep knowledge and network within the field. Peter’s passion for innovation and emerging technologies led him to found OrthoFeed, an award-winning blog covering digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Through this platform, he stays at the forefront of the industry and contributes to the dissemination of valuable insights. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson, demonstrating his exceptional contributions and impact on the organization. His expertise extends to areas such as organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter earned a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University, further complementing his comprehensive understanding of the medical field. With his wealth of experience, strategic mindset, and dedication to advancing healthcare, Peter Coffaro is a valuable asset and leader in the medical device industry.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.