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A.R. In the O.R.

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person using robotic surgery system

AR glasses will allow surgery residents to view superimposed visualizations of prior imaging to help guide complex actions.

Credit: University of North Dakota

Surgical education is getting an update thanks to the University of North Dakota's departments of Surgery and Computer Science, which have teamed up to explore augmented reality technology in the operating room.

Over the past eighteen months, faculty from the two teams have been helping UND's Surgery Residency Program experiment with AR in the surgical suite.

The AR uses enhanced glasses that allow for supplemental images or videos to overlay what a physician sees in the OR. These could be X-rays, CT scans, patients' vital signs, instructional videos, or pages from a surgery textbook, all passed in front of a surgeon's field of vision, says Dr. Stefan Johnson, who directs the residency program.

"In the old days, residents would essentially practice on cadavers and patients," Johnson says. "This technology has potential to bring better knowledge into the education environment, and . . . safely."

If software and wireless connectivity issues can be ironed out, Professor Ron Marsh says that relatively inexpensive AR  technology could radically improve the practice of not only clinical surgery but of rural medicine and traumatic surgery as well.

From University of North Dakota
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