April 16, 2024

Chilean surgeon performs first augmented reality abdominal procedure

Editor's Note

A successful cholecystectomy March 11 in Santiago, Chile marked the first reported use of augmented reality (AR) technology for abdominal surgery, Fox News reported on April 12.

Developed by Levita Magnetics, a medical equipment manufacturer in Silicon Valley, the MARS system paired with Meta’s Quest 3 XR headset to reduce incisions for fewer scars, less pain, and faster recovery; to better control surgical tools; and to improve visualization. "You have more immersion in the surgery, so you are more focused on what you're doing," Rodriguez told Fox, comparing it to "moving with the surgery."

The surgeon reportedly plans to conduct a clinical trial on the ergonomics and precision of AR surgery. He calls it a potential “revolution in how surgeries are performed,” particularly with the addition of artificial intelligence (AI) for analyzing the images.

Dr. Harvey Castro, an ER physician and an expert on AI in health care, told Fox that Rodriguez's method "marks a pivotal evolution in medical technology" — but also urged caution. For example, protocols must be established to revert to traditional methods for reliability. Meanwhile, surgeons used to AR may become reliant on it and lose confidence and competence traditional methods.  

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