SEATTLE — The innovative Microsoft HoloLens2 allows surgeons to load in a patient’s CT or MRI scan and create a holographic twin of that patient’s pathology, their brain, and their skull.
“We can use that to help navigate the best way to get to the pathology in the patient’s brain without causing any damage to a surrounding tissue on the way in,” said Dr. Stephen Monteith, director of cerebrovascular neurosurgery at Providence Swedish. “It’s kind of a GPS for the brain.”
Surgeons use a special headset and fuse the holographic twin image onto the patient during surgery. This allows them to plan the surgery and essentially look into a patient’s brain preoperatively. The technology shows tumors, tangles of blood vessels, aneurysms, or other pathologies in the brain, and surgeons can rehearse the surgery.
“This is really the ultimate in personalized medicine,” Dr. Monteith said.
Surgeons at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute are using this augmented reality technology every day to help patients. Many cases at the institute are complicated and complex, so the device is used to help optimize the approach to these surgeries.
“We know that whether it’s playing the piano or throwing a football, rehearsal of doing mechanical tasks helps improve outcomes,” Dr. Monteith said.
Swedish is the first hospital in the Puget Sound region to use this technology, creating a large opportunity for education and collecting data to get a full understanding of benefits.
“We can try out different techniques virtually before we do the actual procedure, so we’re optimistic it’s going to show improved outcomes in the future,” Dr. Monteith said.
The Swedish Foundation helped bring this innovation to the region. A community of donors contributed so Swedish could acquire and implement the technology in operating rooms for some of the most complicated procedures.
“Without the support of the foundation and generous donors who can see the vision that we see, we wouldn’t be able to make this happen,” Dr. Monteith said.