Augmented reality to accompany plastic and reconstructive surgery


A research group has developed an augmented reality system. To create 3D simulations of the desired results of facial reconstructive procedures. Project them over the patient’s face during plastic surgery,

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Koichi Ueda, MD, PhD, Daisuke Mitsuno, MD of Osaka Medical College, Japan, explains development and experience with an augmented reality (AR) system. Improvements of the body surface consideration in plastic surgery. They suggest augmented reality could be useful guide to planning, performing and evaluating the results of facial reconstruction and other procedures.

Augmented Reality for Plastic Surgery

Augmented reality is a technology that combines computer-generated images on a screen with a real object or scene. To develop a sophisticated yet simple and modifiable AR technique for use during plastic and reconstructive surgery.

The researchers used digital camera to capture 3D image of the facial surface. On the underlying facial bones performed tomography scans to obtain digital information for each patient. Meanwhile, these digital data manipulated to create 3D simulations for final results. However, the reconstruction simulated by obtaining and reversing an image of the opposite, uninjured bone.

The surgeon use smart glasses to superimpose the 3D digital simulation image. For the desired over the patient’s face during surgery. The researchers used open source software  to solve various technical problems. Including manipulating and displaying the 3D simulations with the surgical field.

The experience with AR system with eight patients undergoing reconstructive facial surgery. Further, the AR system helped in planning and confirming reconstruction for underlying facial bones. In all patient cases the 3D simulation of the body surface provided a visual reference of the final facial appearance.

Moreover, the research team improved some additional technical clarifications to address limitations of the AR system. The improvised system not to guide surgery in this initial experience, it helped in visualizing the planned correction and confirming the final outcome.

In addition, the group plans further studies for benefits of using the AR system during plastic and reconstructive surgery and to refine the display method for comparing before and after images.

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Although, Future include the ability to evaluate the improvements in body surface and even to enable navigation of internal organs.