When sci-fi becomes reality.
Thanks to 3D holographic technology developed by an Israeli firm, doctors are now able to visualise a patient’s anatomy “floating” in mid-air in real time during surgery.
The company says it has recently completed a successful clinical study in which surgeons used 3D holograms of their patients’ beating hearts to help them operate.
“What that does is that gives you the patient’s anatomy, the real patient’s anatomy in a position where it’s hyper realistic, you can see all of it, you can intuitively know where you are or what’s going on inside that anatomy in real time. So you can use that to guide procedures, you can use that to understand better the anatomy that you want to deal with,” says Dr Elchanan Bruckheimer, Medical Director at Realview, the company behind the invention.
The system operates by using data from a traditional x-ray, MRI or ultrasound system. It is then analysed and projected as a holographic image onto a fixed point in space.
According to its developers, this technology opens up a whole new way of operating for surgeons.
“It’s very intuitive because we are all used to our three dimensional world and instead of having two dimensional cuts through the heart we are able to see the heart floating in front of us, we are able to cut through it, to touch it, to see the interaction between the device and the tissue around it,” Dr Einat Birk, Director of the Institute of Pediatric Cardiology at Israel’s Schneider Children’s Medical Center.
Unlike other 3D technology, this system does not require special eye-wear. It can also be used for periodic evaluation of a fetus during pregnancy for example, much like a conventional ultrasound.
Its developers hope to launch it commercially next year.