Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

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PRSonally Speaking
Friday, September 20, 2013
Google Glass in Plastic Surgery?
by Adrian Murphy
One of the more frequent comparators to surgery is that of the commercial airline industry. This is commonly in the areas of safety, systems management, checklists and regulation.
Worthy and all as most of that stuff is, realistically we all prefer Top Gun to Southwest. Now, through the medium of Google Glass surgery is on the verge of adopting a much more exciting aviation innovation - the HUD, or Head Up Display - definitely cooler than a checklist!
HUD technology has been evolving in military aircraft since initial reflector systems were pioneered pre-World War II. In the 1970s HUD began to be introduced into commercial aircraft and is now available in a number of high-end automobiles.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) which displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands. Google Glass has  Bluetooth, WiFi,  GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, and an HD capable screen that will recreate an image equivalent to 25 inches. It is currently available to an early adopter program for developers and consumers to test Google Glass, and gauge how people will want to use it.
This technology has a number of exciting possible applications for surgeons. Its ability to stream video opens the possibility of real-time mentoring from a remote viewer, ie. an attending supervising a resident operate from the comfort of his office or home whilst being able to offer advise based on exactly what is being seen by the operating surgeon, or to supervise and feedback on a clinical examination remotely.
Utilizing the HUD display during surgery offers even more exciting possibilities to the surgeon, however. The possibility of using the voice activation to call up and scroll through radiology images, pathology reports etc. without taking eyes from the operating field is an appealing one. Other reference material relating to anatomy, operative technique could also be called upon either from the internet or stored on a mobile device paired with Glass. Calling out “Glass, search how to do a rhinoplasty” in the OR may not inspire a lot of confidence though!
Any other potential surgical applications you see for this technology?

About the Blog

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

PRSonally Speaking is the official blog of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Visit our blog for exclusive previews of and discussions on hot topics in plastic surgery as well as insider-tips on open access content. PRSonally Speaking is now powered by frequent contributions from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Young Plastic Surgeons Forum (YPS); these practicing plastic surgeons provide the personal side of the plastic surgery story, from daily challenges to unique insights. PRSonally Speaking is home to lively, civil debate on hot topics and great discussions pertaining to our field. So, bookmark us, subscribe to the RSS feed and join in the on-going conversation with Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. This is your Journal; have fun, be respectful, get engaged and interact with the PRS community.

The views and recommendations of guest contributors do not necessarily indicate official endorsements or opinions of the Journal, PRS, or the ASPS. All views are those of the authors and the authors alone.


Anureet K. Bajaj, MD is a practicing plastic surgeon in Oklahoma City. She completed residency and fellowship in 2004, had a brief stint in academia at the University of Cincinnati, and then chose to join her father (Paramjit Bajaj MD, also a practicing plastic surgeon) in private practice in OKC, where she focuses on breast reconstruction and general cosmetic surgeries.

Devra B. Becker, MD, FACS, is an Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery in the Department of Plastic Surgery at University Hospitals/Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She completed Plastic Surgery residency at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and completed fellowships with Daniel Marchac and with Bahman Guyuron. She currently has a primarily reconstructive practice.

Henry C. Hsia, MD, FACS is at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey and also holds an appointment at Princeton University.  When he’s not working hard trying to be a good father and husband, he runs a practice focused on reconstructive surgery and wound care as well as a research lab focused on wound biology and regenerative medicine.

Stephanie K. Rowen, MD is a senior physician at The Permanente Medical Group in San Jose, California.  She joined TPMG upon finishing residency and a hand surgery fellowship in 2005.  She has a primarily reconstructive practice, about 50% hand surgery.  Outside of work she enjoys participating in triathlons and spending time with her family.

Jon Ver Halen, MD is currently Chief of plastic surgery, Baptist Cancer Center; Research member, Vanderbilt- Ingram Cancer Center; Adjunct clinical faculty, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. He also acts as Program Director for the plastic surgery microvascular surgery fellowship. His practice focuses on oncologic reconstruction.

Tech Talk Bloggers

Adrian Murphy is a plastic surgery trainee in London, England. He studied medicine in Dublin, Ireland and has trained in Ireland, Boston, MA and the United Kingdom. He is a self-confessed geek and gadget aficionado.

Ash Patel, MD is Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery and Associate Program Director at Albany Medical College, in Albany NY. His practice is primarily reconstructive.