In this MEDICA-tradefair.com interview, Sirko Pelzl explains how Virtual Surgical Intelligence (VSI) can be applied in various medical fields and reveals how this supports doctors and patients.
Mr. Pelzl, what is VSI?
Sirko Pelzl: VSI is a mixed reality platform designed for hospital use. We started with an intraoperative application that uses mixed reality glasses to virtually display CT or MRI images on the surgical site. Examples include traumatology, dermatology or oral-maxillofacial surgery. We used this as a foundation to enhance the platform for various medical applications: surgical planning, patient education, training and education. The applications and functionality are fully specified by the physicians.
What are the advantages for physicians and patients?
Pelzl: For surgeons, VSI is a major step forward in surgical quality improvement. This marks the first time they can truly see 3D images during the surgery, allowing improved orientation and precision. Even though experienced surgeons are capable of doing this using two-dimensional images, VSI is a great help, especially for a new generation of physicians.
The technology can be used for various types of surgeries: Using the Microsoft "HoloLens" MR headset, surgeons can overlay 3D images of the liver on the surgical site and exactly locate the position of the ventricles or metastases for example. In dermatology, physicians can project a 3D SPECT-CT onto the patient to locate the sentinel lymph nodes. When used in traumatology, doctors can view broken bones and fractures from all angles. Based on our experience, all fields can benefit from this technology: doctors who try VSI immediately come up with great ideas on where and how they can use it.
What’s more, physicians can use VSI to show patients their own MRI scans and explain the surgical procedure in visual detail. We were able to illustrate in a recent study how greatly patients appreciated this education and communication.
Do surgeons need training or extensive practice to use VSI?
Pelzl: It does not take much time to familiarize yourself with the technology. We estimate between two and three hours for the new HoloLens 2 because it is better at recognizing user gestures than the original HoloLens and it supports more intuitive hand control. You actually do not need training for VSI. Our goal is to keep the system simple.