Google Glass Delivers New Insight During Surgery

Cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Theodore, MD, always goes into the operating room with one main goal: getting his patient in and out of surgery safely and efficiently.

Technology has offered vast improvements to that process and a new technology gadget, the Google Glass, is taking that a giant step further.

Google Glass, a 1.8-ounce computer configured like a pair of eyeglasses, already is gaining popularity in the medical world as a teaching tool, recording surgeries from the surgeon’s point of view and live-streaming that view to colleagues or students. But Theodore has found another application for Google Glass that he believes could transform the way doctors perform surgery.

New Insight During Surgery

Theodore pre-loads CT and X-ray images needed for a procedure, and calls them up in his Google Glass to compare a medical scan with the actual surgical site.

“Often one will remove a tumor that may be deeply hidden inside an organ — the liver, the lung — for example,” said Theodore, who’s also an associate professor in the UCSF School of Medicine. “To be able to have those X-rays directly in your field without having to leave the operating room or to log on to another system elsewhere, or to turn yourself away from the patient in order to divert your attention, is very helpful in terms of maintaining your attention where it should be, which is on the patient 100 percent of the time.”

New Insight During Surgery

Theodore is the first surgeon to use the tech device as an auxiliary surgical tool in the operating room. He was introduced to the idea by Nate Gross, MD, co-founder and medical director of Rock Health, a San Francisco-based startup company focused on the future of digital health.

While wearing the Google Glass, data on the “screen” appears in the wearer’s peripheral vision, Gross explained.

New Insight During Surgery

“If my vision is a tic-tac-toe board, it would take one of those upper corners,” he said. “It feels like looking in the rearview mirror of your car. That rear view is always there when I need it, but it’s not there when I don’t.”

  • Author: Kiran Voleti

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