Surgery from holograms: with the heart in the hand

Health News

Holography has been around for more than 70 years, ever since it was introduced to the public by Hungarian physicist and inventor Dennis Gabor in 1947. Gabor sought to improve the resolution and definition of the electron microscope but instead devised a new technique for creating images, a new technique to represent reality. Holograms collect the three-dimensional information of an object or person . In 1971 Gabor received the Nobel Prize for this achievement.

Cinema, science fiction, has made this technology “popular”. Who doesn’t remember R2D2 projecting Princess Leia’s distress hologram in Star Wars? Since then, the technology has evolved a lot. And its applications too.

For example, in show business: Hugh Jackman presented the film Chappie in Madrid, from Berlin! It was his hologram that viewers saw in the capital of Spain.

Some museums use holograms of delicate and valuable objects to replace the originals. This is the case of the Lindow Man , a mummy of more than 2300 years , which is well preserved in a chamber of the British Museum in London, while its hologram is exposed to the public.

Holography reaches the operating room

Now this technology can revolutionize the world of surgery. The Israeli startup RealView Imaging has developed a technology (Digital Light Shaping) with which it allows doctors to see inside the heart without making an incision .

With the patented Holoscope-i , they can treat heart disease with greater confidence and precision. Surgeons can rotate, zoom , cut, mark and measure within those holograms that float before their eyes, without the need for special glasses or screens . Without the need to move any mouse, the system is activated by voice command from the surgeon himself.

The General Hospital in Toronto and has used this new technology to replace a valve surgical worn on a patient without making an incision in the chest. “This is an extraordinary advance that will improve the care of patients with heart disease,” said Barry Rubin, the medical director of the Toronto Hospital, after the intervention.

Augmented reality has already made its way into operating rooms around the world. This is the case of the Gregorio Marañón hospital in Madrid, where it has already been used for complex surgical interventions such as the removal of a tumor in the leg of a patient. With the help of augmented reality and 3D printing, the entire surgical team could see the surgeon’s work.

But the Holoscope-i improves the technology. “It is really about holograms – they point out from the company – not 3D images.” RealView uses true interference-based holography to generate 3D holograms “that you can hold in the palm of your hand for natural and accurate interaction. We generate the holograms using spatial light modulators to shape the light. Furthermore, they allow direct interaction with advanced sensors, all in real time ”, they indicate from the Israeli company.

In testing this new technology RealView Imaging collaborated with Philips Healthcare  to carry out interventions such as opening of blocked coronary arteries , catheter ablation therapy for cardiac arrhythmias, and catheter-based structural heart repairs (for example, valve replacements cardiac).

This solution also facilitates the practical training of doctors and allows them to obtain a deep insight into the human body. In addition to avoiding risks in the operating room, it can be used in gynecology to check the status of the fetus and even operate on complex arteries.

Holography thus becomes an important tool in therapeutic medical processes, with greater precision and with a lower risk of errors. Operating rooms thus take a step towards the surgery of the future.

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