UAB using augmented reality to assist with head, neck cancer surgeries

Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 2:30 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UAB is now using new technology to help assist with head and neck cancer surgeries. The Brainlab Mixed Reality Viewer provides a 3-D view of the tumor, head and spine above the operating table. Surgeons wear a visor that comes over their eyes to see the hologram.

Dr. Anthony Morlandt is a head and neck surgeon at UAB. He said UAB is one of 10 places that have this technology in North America.

“As you can imagine, if you can put a visor down over your face that told you and give you an idea of where to cut or where to put tissue in, it would just do a better job,” said Morlandt.

In these surgeries, doctors remove the tumor and replace it with a bone from another part of the body. Previously, surgeons would use 3-D printed models to pan out the operation, but it could only provide them with so much information.

“Because we’ve already done this planning in the pre-operative setting, in a clinic or office before we ever get to surgery, it’s not so much of a surprise what we encounter in surgery.”

Doctors can even let the patients wear the visor before the surgery so they can see what doctors will be doing, proving peace of mind.

Morlandt said they are able to add tissue and use custom implants in the surgeries, which provides patients the quality of life they had before their cancer diagnosis.

“So instead of a patient waking up after oral cancer surgery, and being cancer free but disfigured, we can help patients wake up whole after surgery,” said Morlandt.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.