updated 02:47 am EDT, Thu August 22, 2013
Augmented-reality app helped doctors avoid complications
While the iPad is well known to be a versatile tool, rarely has it been used to help doctors complete a surgery more efficiently and with a lower chance of complications, but that is what happened in Bremen, Germany -- with the surgeons using an augmented-reality application and the iPad's camera (along with some pre-existing scans) to complete a liver operation. In the operation, a picture of the patient's liver was taken using the iPad's camera, then supplemented with the information from the 3D scans using a custom app.
Ahead of the operation, doctors created a 3D map of the patient's liver using conventional medical imaging technology. This information was then combined with a photo of the organ taken during the early stages of the operation by the surgeon, using the iPad's camera (caution: graphic images). The photo was combined with the scan information to create a virtual map of the individual's liver, showing exactly where tumors, major blood vessels and other obstacles unique to the patient were located, reports AppleInsider.
The technology makes the surgery far more efficient and lets doctors avoid potential complications and reduce the possibility of errors. The augmented-reality technique could have implications for other organs and operations, for example removing tumors from the pancreas or being even more precise when excising cancerous cells. The liver operation in Bremen marks one of the first times the iPad has been used in such a procedure.