Augmented Reality
Sandeep Agrawal
By: Sandeep Agrawal

AR in ER- an App to Help Remove Liver Tumor

It’s quite amazing and fascinating how quickly technology is helping humans in different sectors. Smartphones and tablets have found a way to guide/assist doctors in the emergency rooms now. They were quite helpful in providing clinical information and measuring important angles during orthopedic procedures but now an AR app exists for iPad which can assist in removing liver tumor. The app was launched by Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Germany.

Liver tumor removal is quite difficult as it requires precise information about the exact location of blood vessels. Liver hosts a branching vessel structure through which one and a half liter of blood flows every minute. This makes the procedure even more risky because even a slight error in judgment could cause severe blood loss.

Now even before the AR app was launched, there existed software for liver operation which supported doctors. They could print a 3D x-ray images which had reconstructed locations of blood vessels in the liver for each patient. But while operating we would want that a doctor should have to switch his sight back and forth between the actual liver and the 3D x-ray, right?

So thankfully they came up with this AR app which could assist them without them having to deviate their attention from the patient. This app would be open in the camera mode and will superimpose the blood vessels on the original liver. It would also help doctors by telling them the exact measurements of removing the tumor by removing the blood vessels. The app can let the doctor to measure the length of the vessel by simple touching the screen. This is also helpful when doctors need to decide whether insertion of a new vessel is required or not. If it’s found that the tumor size is bigger than originally thought, doctors can make a quick decision and the app helps them there. It will tell them exactly which parts will be deprived of blood if the extra vessels are to be removed. This lets the surgeon decides whether the remaining organ volume is large enough for the patient to survive.

Agreed it isn’t as simple as it sounds, but it sure makes it a lot easier in the emergency room. Doctors have tested it in Germany and it was a success. The app is currently only for iPad and tablet devices because only they can be helpful in this. A phone’s screen would be quite small compared to a tablet.

It always amazes me how all of our worlds are coinciding these days. There’s literally a thin line of difference left between any two professions. Doctors are solving operations via augmented technology; AR developers are creating such app with the help of doctors. So in the end, this is all a mixed world.
Anyways, what are your thoughts on this awesome app? I personally think we can solve many other medical problems using AR. We just need to open our gates of imagination and let the thoughts flow! So let your comments flow and we can discuss there.