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Medtronic Dives Into Augmented Reality

In April 2021, Medical tech giant Medtronic joined forces with extended reality startup: Surgical Theater to equip surgeons with AR tech to boost real-time visualization during cranial surgery. The duo will use AR to give neurosurgeons a way to test their surgical strategies before entering the operating room—and use AR during procedures to give the surgeons a live, 3D view superimposed on the surgical area for better navigation.

Extended reality can improve the safety and efficacy of surgical procedures—and cut down the time surgeons spend mapping out surgical techniques.

AR enables surgeons to keep their eyes on the patient, thereby reducing medical errors. For context, surgeons need to continuously switch their focus among different sources of information, like patient monitors. But a single AR display integrates all patient and imaging data into one place, enabling surgeons to safely stay focused on the patient at all times. And enhancing surgeons’ visuals should help avoid preventable medical errors, which collectively cost the US billions each year.

Surgeons can use VR to train and test their surgical approaches before entering the operating room, which should go a long way toward improving performance.  In a recent study, the VR startup, Osso VR reported a 230% improvement in surgeons’ performance after training with the technology.

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