Augmented reality (AR) has taken great strides in the last 20 years as microchips and heads-up displays have become ever smaller. The benefits afforded medical practitioners continues to be explored across many specialties. Head mounted displays have become more accessible and more affordable. While physicians are becoming acquainted with this new technology, researchers are pushing the envelope of bionanotechnology so that patients may benefit in addition to their medical practitioners. Our group has sought to find the utility of this new technology in limb salvage, resident education, and virtual consultation. However, this is just a fraction of what other investigators have attempted across subspecialties. Surgeons are constantly faced with the task of mentally integrating two-dimensional radiographs and the three-dimensional surgical field, which is the very reason that augmented reality is so attractive. AR has the potential to increase surgical precision, increase patient safety, and facilitate physician education. Until recently, augmented reality had neither the correct form factor to make intraoperative and in-clinic use practical, nor the efficacy to justify its application. Additionally, we must consider that the quest for increased efficiency could paradoxically result in decreased quality of care. Early simulation conducted by NASA in the 1980s revealed a risk of inattentional blindness during the use of head-up displays; therefore, it is unlikely that there will be one perfect system or technology that will suit every specialty. Further works will be required in this area in order to identify the requisite balance, but facilitating education, increasing safety, and improving care are not virtual goals, but are virtuous and ultimately realistic.
- Augmented reality
- Virtual reality
- Mixed reality
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Rankin, T.M., Slepian, M.J., Armstrong, D.G. (2015). Augmented Reality in Surgery. In: Latifi, R., Rhee, P., Gruessner, R. (eds) Technological Advances in Surgery, Trauma and Critical Care. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2671-8_6
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