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Effectiveness of the HoloLens mixed-reality headset in minimally invasive surgery: a simulation-based feasibility study

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Hasaneen Fathy Al Janabi, Abdullatif Aydin, Sharanya Palaneer, Nicola Macchione, Ahmed Al-Jabir, Muhammad Shamim Khan, Prokar Dasgupta, Kamran Ahmed

Original languageEnglish
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Early online date18 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2019

King's Authors


Background: The advent of Virtual Reality technologies presents new opportunities for enhancing current surgical practice. Studies suggest that current techniques in endoscopic surgery are prone to disturbance of a surgeon’s visual-motor axis, influencing performance, ergonomics and iatrogenic injury rates. The Microsoft® HoloLens is a novel head-mounted display that has not been explored within surgical innovation research. This study aims to evaluate the HoloLens as a potential alternative to conventional monitors in endoscopic surgery. Materials and methods: This prospective, observational and comparative study recruited 72 participants consisting of novices (n = 28), intermediate-level (n = 24) and experts (n = 20). Participants performed ureteroscopy, within an inflatable operating environment, using a validated training model and the HoloLens mixed-reality device as a monitor. Novices also completed the assigned task using conventional monitors; whilst the experienced groups did not, due to their extensive familiarity. Outcome measures were procedural completion time and performance evaluation (OSATS) score. A final evaluation survey was distributed amongst all participants. Results: The HoloLens facilitated improved outcomes for procedural times (absolute difference, − 73 s; 95% CI − 115 to − 30; P = 0.0011) and OSAT scores (absolute difference, 4.1 points; 95% CI 2.9–5.3; P < 0.0001) compared to conventional monitors. Feedback evaluation demonstrated 97% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the HoloLens will have a role in surgical education (mean rating, 4.6 of 5; 95% CI 4.5–4.8). Furthermore, 95% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the HoloLens is feasible to introduce clinically and will have a role within surgery (mean rating, 4.4 of 5; 95% CI 4.2–4.5). Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the device facilitated improved outcomes of performance in novices and was widely accepted as a surgical visual aid by all groups. The HoloLens represents a feasible alternative to the conventional setup, possibly by aligning the surgeon’s visual-motor axis.

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