A surgical intervention was performed in unison between Prof Kevin Cassar from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Malta and surgeon Dr Igor Koncar from Belgrade, Serbia using HoloLens to communicate in real time.
This was showcased at the recent MedTech conference held in Malta. Using sophisticated new technology in the form of the HoloLens, the surgeon is transported virtually to the operating room in another country. In this scenario the patient was suffering from a condition called an abdominal aortic aneurysm where the main artery in the abdomen increases in size with the risk of rupture and risk of death. Rupture of an abdominal aneurysm is universally fatal. This is a common condition in Malta and a common cause of mortality, particularly in males.
The HoloLens consists of a virtual reality headset which enables the user to visualise in three dimensions what is happening elsewhere and to communicate and participate in a procedure being performed remotely. Professor Cassar, working in Malta, was transported virtually to the operating theatre in Belgrade to be able to collaborate with his Serbian colleagues to perform the procedure.
The procedure, referred to as a Chimney Endovascular aneurysm repair, was completed successfully with the collaboration of the two teams working together in real time but in different countries. The patient was discharged home the following day.
The new technology is expected to revolutionise vascular surgery practice but also simulation training of vascular surgeons as well as the teaching and training of undergraduate medical students in the near future. More importantly it is expected to translate into better care and improved outcomes for patients.