Novarad lands FDA clearance for its HoloLens-augmented preoperative system

OpenSight uses the HoloLens' augmented reality technology to help practitioners plan operations.
By Laura Lovett
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Photo credit: Novarad

The possibilities of Microsoft’s HoloLens system have become a hot topic in the medical world in recent years. But last week Novarad’s OpenSight Augmented Reality System received FDA clearance for pre-operative surgical planning using the tech company's augmented reality headset.

The newly FDA-cleared system uses the lens to project 2D, 3D and 4D interactive images onto a patient’s body during surgery. The system lets clinicians see both the 3D patient image from previous scans as well as the patient physically in front of them. OpenSight was designed to help surgeons plan for an operation and gives clinicians the tools to highlight specific body parts as well as structures that should be avoided during the procedure, according to the company. 

The technology — which according to Novarad is the first using HoloLens to be cleared by the FDA — can be used by surgeons, radiologist and students. It also lets users interact with the imaging data and see the picture displayed in an anatomically correct way on the patient, according to the website. 

Why it matters

Recently doctors and developers have been turning to augmented reality as a way to plan for surgeries, as well as provide surgeons more resources during the operation itself. Both Microsoft’s HoloLens system and Google Glass have become popular catalysts for scans and information to be relayed through during surgery. 

Augmented reality technology gives practitioners the ability to see previous scans — often times with notes or highlights. In some use cases a remote physician can provide guidance and notes via the technology. 

The trend 

Uses cases for the HoloLens technology can be seen all over the world. In August, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and NHS Foundation Trust announced that it would be using the augmented reality technology. The hospital said that alongside the technology, it was also developing an app to help surgeons better access information about their patients. 

Additionally, in January a study published in the European Radiology Experimental outlined how surgeons at St. Mary’s Hospital in London used Microsoft HoloLens to overlay images of CT scans onto patients’ legs during reconstructive lower limb surgery. 

On the record

“This is transformative technology that will unite preoperative imaging with augmented reality to improve the precision, speed and safety of medical procedures,” Dr. Wendell Gibby, Novarad CEO and co-creator of OpenSight, said in a statement. “This internal visualization can now be achieved without the surgeon ever making an incision, improving outcomes in a world of more precise medicine.”