NUHS demonstrates the use of holographic technology in brain surgery

Singapore’s National University Health System has launched a research and development program to explore the use of mixed reality technology in clinical care.

In a press release, the healthcare group said a team of neurosurgeons from National University Hospital has studied the potential of holographic technology to locate brain tumors during surgeries.


In a proof of concept demonstration, a holographic visor was used to create a 3D hologram of a patient’s brain scan that was projected into space and superimposed on a patient’s head during surgery.

The hologram was generated using 3D medical software called Virtual Surgery Intelligence by the German developer of the MR medical platform apoQlar.

MR technology allows surgeons to identify tumors “quickly and precisely” and know their exact location and angle of incision. Surgeons can also view the holographic image from different angles, interact with it and control it through gesture and voice recognition.


The NUHS has already completed the first phase of the research program. Through the program, he wanted to support the development of next-generation clinical applications that would “augment clinical processes”, improve patient safety, and improve both undergraduate and postgraduate education.

The group suggested that the MR helmet, which weighs around 500 grams, could replace bulky operating room equipment in the future and reduce radiation exposure during procedures.

Potential use cases for the holographic solution include live streaming of data from image acquisition machines and the use of AI and machine learning for advanced image processing and imaging. predictive analysis. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 device that was used in the demonstration can also be used to show operated patients the steps of their procedure.

The NUHS has set out a roadmap for holomedicine that includes short and long term research projects, integration with existing hospital systems, procedures on board users and improving the infrastructure of the hospital. hospital to support the system. It hopes to implement holographic technology in all of its hospitals and health facilities “in the near future”.

For now, the NUHS has said it still needs to conduct clinical validation studies and trials before adopting the MR solution as its primary clinical method. The system must be registered with governing bodies such as the Health Sciences Authority.


The United States has already seen the application of MR technology in healthcare. For example, a surgeon from OU Health at Oklahoma used an MR machine to safely and efficiently perform complex reconstructions. The system uses AI to visualize superimposed and anatomically aligned 3D CT data during surgery.

From 2019, a augmented reality concept for minimally invasive image-guided surgery was developed through a partnership between Microsoft, the manufacturer of the HoloLens 2, and Philips. The concept brings live imaging and other vital data sources into a 3D holographic environment that can be monitored by a physician. In one case, it allows surgeons to see the real world overlaid on live data and 3D medical imaging needed to guide precision therapy.

In other regional news, virtual reality technology is used to train medical students and prepare surgeons before performing an operation. In Australia, for example, some hospitals have deployed Vantari VRtraining platform for their young doctors and trainees.


“Holographic technology can dramatically transform the way we practice medicine. Early adoption will place NUHS at the forefront of medical MRI research and position us as a pioneer in the clinical use of this technology, ”said NUHS Group Technical Director Ngiam Kee Yuan, who oversees R&D of the hospital group’s Holomedicine program.

“Technological advances, particularly in the field of MRI, have opened up new horizons for the medical profession. By merging other technologies such as artificial intelligence, real-time image recognition and predictive modeling, these MRI machines provide clinicians with capabilities that were once thought impossible, ”he added.

“For over thirty years now, we have used a portable navigation system to navigate and identify the location of the tumor. In comparison, this new mixed reality system is more intuitive as we can now see inside the patient’s head without needing to look and refer to a computer screen while performing a procedure, ”commented the associate professor Yeo.

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