There is now another way for doctors to use augmented reality in operations. This time, it's for plastic surgery — Specifically facial surgery.
The HoloLens has been used in operations before, notably for spinal surgery.
But the specific technique created by Dr. Philip J. Miller is apparently new.
Dr. Miller and a patient can use the create a 3D image of how their face should look after surgery with the HoloLens. That image can then be viewed over a patient's actual face, to compare the two and ensure the changes are as planned. Miller estimates that the HoloLens use reduces operating time by around 20% and increases patient satisfaction by around 25%, translating to more satisfied customers.
Miller works at a private practice in Manhattan. It is possible that similar augmented reality techniques could be used for plastic surgery elsewhere and become more accessible.
This could give patients more control over the results of their operations, which seems especially important when the surgery alters something as integral to identity as their face.
Reasons for plastic surgery probably vary widely, from social pressure to fully independent choice, and from casual or psychologically important — as gender-confirming operations, or reconstructive surgery after an injury of some kind often can be. But regardless of patients' reasons or the ethics of a surgery itself, this could provide a substantially improved experience for many. It seems likely as well, to me, that the use of augmented reality in both plastic surgery and spinal surgery could indicate a trend of increased use in surgery as a whole.
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