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What is AR Doing for Ultrasound and Surgery?

Medical imaging as we know it might be in the midst of a massive transformation with the emergence of augmented reality (AR). Physician researchers are developing and utilizing the technology to conduct ultrasound, surgeries, and other procedures to make faster and more effective diagnoses.

Imperial College and St. Mary’s Hospital in London have been using Microsoft HoloLens AR Glasses to perform reconstructive surgery on patients with leg injuries. Normally, a surgeon would use a handheld scanner to identify the major blood vessels located near the wound. However, augmented reality headset produces three-dimensional images allowing surgeons to directly pinpoint and examine blood vessels.

AR is turning ultrasound technology into a more unified system. At the University of Maryland, Amitabh Varshney, MD, and Sarah Murthi, MD, have invented an AR device that projects a patient’s real-time ultrasound data right onto their body instead of a computer screen. This method enables physicians to fully direct their attention on the patient instead of constantly going back and forth from the screen to the patient.

With AR, physicians are able to approach exams and diagnosis with more precision and less distraction. The headsets allow them to visualize exactly the location and state of organs, muscles, and bones. “This is definitely not a game anymore,” said Dr. Varshney for NBC. “These tools present a historic opportunity to transform medicine and patient care.”

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