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Doctor performs surgery using Google Glass [video] (al.com)
30 points by mbm on Nov 11, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

A Syrian surgeon in Edmonton has been doing remote surgery in clandestine hospitals he set up in Aleppo and Northern Syria for a year now. He uses Skype and there are multiple cameras set up. http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/story/1.1341329 he claimed to have done a lot of virtual leg and hand surgeries in a more recent vid if you google his name.

I hope I'm not the only person terrified about the lag/fidelity on Skype for surgery!

I've had my Google Glass for about a week now, and this raises some questions for me.

How long did the surgery last? My experience so far is that you can get a maximum of about one hour battery life from Glass when using video.

Was the resolution and video quality sufficient for the remote surgeon to really see what was going on? Again, personal experience only, but everyone I've made a video call with over Glass has reported very choppy low-res streams.

I'd love a lot more details on the procedure, what went right and what could have worked better, and just how it was done. "This thing happened" isn't a lot of useful information.

So the surgery lasted about two hours. We used a 7000 mAh battery pack, since without external battery Glass would make it about 25-30 minutes in the Hangout before going dark.

The resolution was good enough for the remote proctor to assist. We did notice that as the device got warm as the surgery progressed, quality seemed to decrease a little. Overall I think we were really pleased though with the reliability and quality; we didn't experience any drops, or much packet loss or jitter.

I would say the biggest hurdle was audio. Because the version of Glass we used relied on bone conduction and didn't have an available earpiece, it made it pretty difficult at times for the surgeon to hear his remote proctor, especially since there was a lot of sawing and suction going on.

Thanks for the details. I'm very surprised that you were able to do the surgery without an earpiece. I can't even understand what someone's saying to me when I'm in the grocery store, the bone conduction is so quiet.

If there's a more detailed report of the event up anytime, please share. It's fascinating stuff.

Can Google Glass overlay its overlay over more than the small rectangly in the upper right corner? I thought not, but they seem to imply that it does (the overlay for the operating surgeon is provided by Google Glass).

I'm also slightly surprised that there are no focus problems: the Glass display is made so that it appears to be significantly further away than 40-50cm that you have between the surgeon and the operating field.

I had exactly the same doubt, the setup requires a see-through augmented reality display, which does not seem to be the case with Google Glass. I would love to be wrong though.

How was Google Glass necessary, or even preferred, for this application over a normal computer & monitor setup? I can't seem to make that out from the article.

Some laproscopic tools require the surgeon to hold a weird position, and the monitor is off to the side. This causes discomfort, sometimes pain, because there's not a natural stance.

That has contributed to some adverse outcomes.

Misadventures in Health Care - Inside Stories has a chapter on "The Laparoscopic Surgeon's Posture". http://www.amazon.co.uk/Misadventures-Health-Care-Inside-Sto...

The book is a bit old now, 2003, so I hope the layout of equipment is better nowadays.

I would assume because it's right in the actual surgeon's view instead of requiring constantly moving the head to look at the monitor, then look at the patient.

Better title would probably be "First Ever Virtual/Augmented Reality Assisted Surgery"

Ah, for some reason I was imagining this on the side of the remote expert rather than the surgeon in the surgery room. Makes a lot more sense, now!

That's correct. During open (non-minimally invasive) procedures in which you're being virtually proctored, you want a head-mounted camera and display. This is because if you have just a head-mounted camera, every time you look up at a monitor to receive instruction your camera's field-of-view changes.

And that was roughly the original title, pre-editing.

I'm imagining something like this:


Which would actually be pretty fun as a VR app.

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