A handful of hospitals in the United Kingdom are partnering with Microsoft Research Cambridge to test the use of Xbox Kinect to view images such as MRI or CT scans in the operating room. Today, a piece in the New Scientist takes a look at how using the video game console during surgery allows physicians to operate more efficiently and maintain their concentration.
MacGregor Campbell writes:
Maintaining a sterile environment in the operating room is paramount, but scrubbing in and out to scroll through scan images mid-operation can be time-consuming and break a surgeon's concentration or sense of flow. Depending on the type of surgery, a surgeon will stop and consult medical images anywhere from once an hour to every few minutes. To avoid leaving the table, many surgeons rely on assistants to manipulate the computer for them, a distracting and sometimes frustrating process.
"Up until now, I'd been calling out across the room to one of our technical assistants, asking them to manipulate the image, rotate one way, rotate the other, pan up, pan down, zoom in, zoom out," says Tom Carrell, a consultant vascular surgeon at Guy's and St Thomas', who led the operation on 8 May to repair an aneurism in a patient's aorta. With the Kinect, he says, "I had very intuitive control".
Carrell used the system to look at a 3D model of a section of the abdominal aorta, captured on a CT scan. This was projected on to a 2D live image-feed of the operation site, taken with a fluoroscopic X-ray camera. So Carrell could see what was happening inside the patient, as well as using the 3D model to help navigate the twists, turns and branches of the aorta. He says he consulted the system four or five times during the 90-minute operation.