The first plastic surgery procedure performed using Google Glass shows the computerised eyewear holds promise in plastic surgery, scientists say.
Google Glass has a wide range of possible applications in plastic surgery – with the potential to enhance surgical training, medical documentation, and patient safety, according to a new article published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
“Google Glass is an exciting technology, attracting global interest from multiple industries, professions, and individuals,” researchers said.
Researchers systematically reviewed and analysed previous reports on medical and surgical uses of Google Glass, focusing on its potential application in plastic surgery.
Introduced on a limited basis in 2013, Google Glass is a hands-free, computerised eyewear that can present information to the wearer and enable recording and sharing of video.
Although Glass is not currently available to the public, the technology is still being developed in several markets, including healthcare.
With the ability to control the device hands-free using voice commands, touch, or head position, Glass is a natural technological addition to the operating room.
Christopher R Davis and Lorne K Rosenfield, of Stanford University identified surgical procedures performed using Google Glass from multiple specialities.
In their review, researchers described Rosenfield’s experience in performing the first plastic surgery procedure with Glass – an eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) performed in combination with a face-lift procedure.
This experience illustrated some challenges for future refinement, including the limited resolution of the video camera, technical difficulties in streaming, and the need for the surgeon to keep the head in a fixed position.
In subsequent procedures, Rosenfield fashioned a head-mounted extra-wide LED light to improve clarity for video viewers as well as for the surgeon.
The ability to demonstrate surgical procedures, live or recorded, has obvious applications for training in plastic surgery and other disciplines, researchers said.
Rosenfield noted that the recordings also have unique value for self-evaluation by the surgeon. In the future, Glass technology may enable surgeons to receive remote consultations and even “virtual assistance” during actual procedures.
Glass may also be useful in providing rapid access to medical documentation – for example, doctors could call up and view necessary medical records, imaging studies, or checklists.
This might even reduce the spread of infection from handling pens and paper, computers, and other sources.