How AR Glasses are Revolutionizing Operating Rooms?


Doctor working in an operating room wearing AR Glasses

With the rise in tech, operating rooms are becoming more and more equipped with advanced machines, robotic arms,  da Vinci™ surgical systems, and artificial intelligence (AI) based systems.

Operating rooms, where tech has already made complex surgical procedures easy, efficient, and error-free, are seeing a revolution as augmented reality (AR) glasses are now widely used during surgical procedures.

AR technology devices aren’t limited to enhancing the efficiency of automated surgical robots and procedures, rather they assist surgeons and influence the healthcare’s surgical department very much. Integrating AR, especially using AR glasses will become an integral part of the future of surgeries, improving efficiency and precision, let’s see how. 

Enhanced Visualization 

Enhanced visualization is one of the most promising features of AR technology that is truly revolutionizing all fields of life, including the operating rooms. 

AR glasses provide precise navigation tools that help surgeons visualize internal and critical structures during procedures. 3D visualisations help in better understanding the anatomical position of the organs in a patient’s body. AR glasses also display real-time information about patient’s vitals and medical imaging so surgeons can remain updated about the patient’s condition. This helps the surgeons to make quick adjustments during the surgery and reduces the chances of negligence or mistakes during surgery. 

Improved Precision And Accuracy 

AR glasses function to improve precision and accuracy in the operating rooms. The real-time visualization and 3-D capabilities of AR glasses overlay critical information directly on the patient’s body, whereas 3D modelling ensures precise incision and placement of surgical instruments, improving precision and accuracy in surgical procedures. 

Besides this, AR glasses provide surgeons with a facility to simulate surgeries and practice and allow real-time collaboration with experts. Both facilities have a positive outcome in terms of precision and accuracy, thus revolutionizing the operating rooms easily. 

Improved Access To Information During Procedure

One of the most prominent features of AR glasses is to provide instant access to information. Surgeons can access patients’ history, surgical protocols, surgery plans, and any other information during the procedure. AR glasses display the required information in the surgeon’s field view, allowing the surgeons to focus on the procedure without distraction. 

Shorter Operation Times

Due to the influence of tech, operational complexities and time have been greatly reduced. AR technology allows surgeons to plan surgeries effectively. Surgeons can view the complete surgical process beforehand, study details and plan the real surgery accordingly. This preoperative preparation helps the surgeons to precisely perform the procedure while reducing intraoperative time and complexities.

AR-supported minimally invasive surgery reduces the time to set up and perform the surgery. Access to real-time analytics and imaging insights help surgeons to quickly assess the situation and adapt accordingly. Furthermore, AR glasses also enhance surgical navigation increasing precision and speeding up the procedure. 

Enhanced Communication And Collaboration Between The Surgical Team 

AR smart glasses are equipped with a camera for image sharing or video calling and a microphone. These features are useful for building communication between surgeons in the operating room and field experts elsewhere. AR glasses also help in promoting interdisciplinary collaborations, so experts from different disciplines can provide their expert opinions remotely, overcoming limitations and transforming the workflow in operating rooms. The features are also exemplary for sharing knowledge and expertise with medical students and fellow surgeons. 

Reduced Surgical Errors 

According to the National Health Institute (NIH), the healthcare sector in Australia has a high rate of medical errors. Surgery, being a high-risk speciality, has greater chances of errors as compared to any other facility. Retained surgical items, wrong surgery site, nerve or organ damage, wrong procedure, and exhausted or incompetent staff are leading causes of surgical errors. 

Improved training and skill retention, accessibility to information, real-time guidance, and 3D enlarged visualization of patient’s anatomy with AR glasses have greatly reduced the chances of surgical errors. Another study by NIH affirms improved intraoperative accuracy with the use of AR technology.

Preoperative Planning And Rehearsal 

All surgeries require a surgery plan, where surgeons plan out and create a road map to accomplish the goal of surgery. AR glasses revolutionize the preoperative planning phase by creating digital simulations of real-life situations and allow surgeons to gain insight into the situation beforehand. Surgeons can also rehearse the surgery in AR-provided simulations and use the technology to refine their techniques or experiment with new ones to overcome the challenges they may encounter during surgery or improve the patient outcome.

Comprehensive preoperative planning and rehearsal facility improves the precision, efficiency and safety of surgical procedures. 

Improve Maintenance Of Operating Rooms 

An operating room contains many surgical devices. Surgical lights, patient monitors, electro-surgical units, suction machines, and defibrillators are some of the common ones used widely in all operating rooms. Despite regular maintenance services, like any other machines, surgical devices are prone to errors and breakdowns, which cause a lot of problems for surgeons, patients, and operating room staff. 

AR glasses leverage historical data and real-time sensor information to predict potential surgical device malfunction. The wearable AR devices issue alerts for operating room technicians to which they respond by repairing or maintaining the surgical devices, saving costs and increasing the machine’s longevity. AR glasses save surgical machines from breakdowns, decrease downtime, and improve overall maintenance.

Low Risk Of Complications 

The use of AR glasses in operating rooms can significantly lower the risk of complications arising at various stages during the surgeries. The AR-guided 3D visualizations of the surgical area create spatial awareness in the surgeon, increasing the precision and accuracy of the procedure.

AR glasses also extend a hand of support by increasing access to information, where surgeons can access step-by-step guides, surgery plans, patient history or any other required information in real-time, right in their field of view. Surgeons then use this information to make informed decisions, which lowers the risks of complications during and after the surgery manifold. 

Improved Patient Outcomes 

The overall use of AR technology impacts the preoperative, operative and post-operative steps of surgical procedures. With the use of AR in surgeries they become safer, more effective, minimally invasive and of shorter duration. AR glasses also reduce the chances of errors and complications. Collectively, this leads to better patient outcomes and faster recovery times for patients. 

Improved Surgical Training 

Surgeons undergo robust training under the supervision of experienced surgeons, yet they face immense challenges while performing surgeries. AR glasses overcome this problem by offering improved surgical training. Trainee surgeons get an immersive and interactive learning experience where they can practice surgeries with AR-guided simulations and also get real-time guidance for improving their practice. Trainees can repeatedly practice techniques and surgical procedures in an augmented environment, which significantly improves their surgical skills. This hands-on training facility has better outcomes than traditional training. 


AR glasses bring many advancements to the healthcare sector, particularly, in operating rooms. Enhanced visualizations, improved training, enhanced collaborations, shortened surgery duration, reduced chances of errors, preoperative planning and rehearsals before surgery, and improved accuracy and precision are some of the many benefits AR introduces in the operating rooms. With the adoption and wide use of AR technology globally in operating rooms, we can experience safer, more effective, and risk-free surgery with improved patient outcomes. 

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