Surgeons working on the heart in a minimally invasive fashion have to do quite a bit of interpolating and imagining of where their instruments are in relation to the anatomy and how that anatomy is different from that of other patients. Typical intraoperative imaging systems provide a 2D view from X-ray fluoroscopes and 3D ultrasound aids in giving a volumetric reproduction. Often these are presented separately and can be unwieldy to browse in a unified way.
Imagine having a 3D holographic reproduction of the patient’s actual heart during surgery to slice, rotate, and manipulate in free space with one’s own hands. This is actually something that exists now and has been successfully used in a surgery at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petach Tikva, Israel. Using Philips imaging equipment and holographic technology from RealView Imaging (Yokneam, Israel), a team of surgeons was able to analyze the hearts of eight patients during minimally invasive interventional procedures.
The technology does not require any special glasses and interaction with the virtual heart can be done with one’s hands or a “scalpel” to take slices and look inside the organ. Here’s a video from RealView Imaging: