Torrance hospital revolutionizes hip surgery with augmented reality in the operating room

Denise Dador Image
Friday, October 27, 2023
Torrance hospital revolutionizes hip surgery with augmented reality
A Torrance hospital is revolutionizing hip-replacement surgery, using new tech to improve accuracy, giving surgeons a better view in fitting new hips.

3D holograms and X-ray vision are terms you're used to hearing in comic books and science fiction, but now a local hospital is the first to use this tech in the operating room. Augmented reality in the operating room is helping surgeons replace hips.

Doctors who excel at what they do often possess superhero qualities, but orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Mayeda does have X-ray vision.

"You can actually see their pelvis and their bones inside of them. And the first time I put the headset on, it's like my mind was blown. Like, I can't believe what I can see," he said.

The source of his secret power is the first FDA-cleared mixed reality navigation system for hip replacement called HipInsight.

"We're taking CT images of patients. That CT image is getting created into a hologram," Mayeda said.

At Providence Little Company of Mary in Torrance, Mayeda and his team are the first to use this technology in a California hospital. It employs a virtual pinch screen, similar to what you might see in an episode of Star Trek.

You can manipulate the image, zoom in, turn it around, but working in augmented reality sounds easier than it is.

Wearing AR VR goggles won't make you an instant surgical expert , but Mayeda said it can make a surgeon's job much easier.

"We can see way more than we used to be able to, and that means smaller incisions, less pain for patients, faster recovery for patients and less blood loss during surgery," he said.

Once the mixed reality system matches its mark, the hologram is fixed accurately on the patient. So no matter where you move in the room, the hologram stays in place.

"It's one of the first uses of augmented reality and orthopedics. and it can be expanded and is being expanded into spine and knees and all sorts of other places. And in the same way that I said the conventional surgery has changed with hips, that's happening with all areas of medicine," said Mayeda.

As for price, Mayeda said reusable goggles and software do not add much more to the cost of hip replacement.