Microsoft HoloLens tech used in surgery

Mixed reality technology has been used to assist in bowel cancer surgery, with three eminent surgeons across three hospitals in London and India utilising Microsoft HoloLens technology to consult with one another and share their expertise.


Colorectal Surgeon Professor Shafi Ahmed used the HoloLens to assist him in removing bowel cancer from a patient at the Royal London Hospital. Consultant Colorectal Surgeon Hitesh Patel offered his assistance from BMI The London Independent Hospital, alongside Professor Shaliesh Shrikhande from the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.

On the day, the three specialists were also joined by virtual reality company, Medical Realities, and software provider, Aetho, who supplied the “Thrive” software - a mixed reality application that helps to connect people and information. This new approach not only offered access to 3D scans and information, but it also gave the whole virtual multidisciplinary team the opportunity to discuss the complexities of the case.

Professor Shafi Ahmed, who also has a private practice at BMI The London Independent Hospital, said: “We all wore HoloLens headsets and so could 'see' each other moving as graphic avatars, standing and speaking as if we were together in the same hospital operating theatre.”

Each specialist was able to interact with the pre-uploaded patient scans which appeared as 3D holograms of the tumour. The specialists, who appeared as 3D avatars, were able to virtually draw on the images, offer their opinions and discuss their findings, all while the patient was on the operating table.


Mr Patel added: “This was the first time I’ve used the HoloLens…it was an amazing way to interact with eminent surgeons across the world, and discuss the case and look at the same images together.”

From planning and conducting operations through to medical training, mixed reality holds enormous potential for the future of healthcare, and has the ability to vastly enhance patient outcome and quality of care.

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