The Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid has developed a system for the operating room that combines the use of augmented reality glasses and 3D printing to project on the patient holograms of their medical tests, a pioneering method in the world that has already demonstrated its success with the extirpation of a tumor.
This health advance, presented today in the Oncology Pavilion of the hospital center, allows to improve the results of the interventions, minimize the risks and shorten the times of the operation.
"The information we had on the computer now we have during the surgery on the patient," explained the orthopedic oncological surgeon and member of the research team of this project, Rubén Pérez Mañanes.
Gregorio Marañón has already made an intervention with this technology to remove a tumor in the leg of a patient, an operation that has made it the first worldwide to create this combination of technology and take it to a real surgery, working with that information in the operating room itself.
"It allows us to improve the amount of information we have during surgery.The more information we have, the more precious we can be and the longer we can shorten the intervention," Pérez Mañanes explained about this advance that has begun in the field of oncological surgery, but that can be translated to "any intervention".
The challenge of the positioning systems, surgical navigation and augmented reality in the operating room was, until now, to be able to "identify" the exact position of the patient in order to automatically project with sufficient accuracy the virtual information previously processed in the computer.
With this advance, it is now possible to project the radiological studies of the patient, such as CT, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET), directly on the patient, with a submillimeter error margin.
This jump was achieved with the 3D printing of a personalized template that includes an optical marker that tells the virtual reality glasses where to project the previously generated 3D holograms, a system that manages to "equip the surgeon with X-rays" during the intervention .
The Health Minister of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, has praised this "qualitative leap" in medical engineering that can also be applied, beyond the operating room, as a technology for the training of professionals.
"It is an important point, it is a reality, it is getting to integrate more and more that symbiosis that has all healthcare along with engineering and new technologies, for the benefit of the patient and the safety of professionals," he added.
The development has been carried out through the collaborative work of the Gregorio Marañón Health Research Institute through an interdisciplinary team, in collaboration with the director of the degree of Biomedical Engineering of the Carlos III University, Javier Pascua, and together with the Madrid company 6DLAB.
In addition, we are working so that any "smartphone" with augmented reality support can identify the marker integrated in the 3D printed template and on it project the 3D reconstruction on the mobile phone screen.
This will be useful to universalize the application and be able to use it in simulation or medical training environments at very low cost.