Greenslopes Private Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


3D holographic technology used in shoulder surgery

Oct 19, 2020

Mixed reality technology most commonly associated with the gaming industry has helped a Brisbane orthopaedic surgeon perform a complex shoulder reconstruction at Greenslopes Private Hospital.

In what’s believed to be an Australian first, Dr Ashish Gupta and his team of engineers have used mixed reality technology to create a 3D hologram of the patient’s shoulder, which he used to guide his surgery.

Just like in gaming, Dr Gupta wore a headset with 3D goggles to view the patient’s shoulder hologram, which allowed him to see parts of the anatomy he would otherwise be unable to see.

“The hologram allows you to see what is beyond the surgical field of view and going forward it could be really significant in other fields of medicine such as neurological surgery,” Dr Gupta said.

Unlike playing a game in virtual reality - where you don’t know what’s going on outside the simulated environment, Dr Gupta said with mixed reality you are still very aware of your surroundings. Augmented reality is regularly employed in the manufacturing and aerospace industries.

“Think of it like GPS in a car - but it’s a holographic GPS. The surgeon is always in control; we can overlay the hologram onto the patient’s bones or anatomy and use the hologram to guide our surgery,” Dr Gupta said.

The mixed reality technology was used to treat a 19 year old patient who had suffered a traumatic shoulder dislocation with large residual bone defect. The surgery was performed at Greenslopes Private Hospital in August 2020.

Previously, Dr Gupta and his team would pre-plan complex surgeries using computer modelling and 3D printing, but Research and Development Engineer Marine Launay said the use and integration of mixed-reality technology allowed them to take a different approach.

“Previously all the preplanning work would have been done and Dr Gupta would have taken his printed plans or 3D print models into surgery. By using mixed reality, he has the potential to see, interact and manipulate the pre-planned hologram during surgery before he makes decisions about the patient,” Ms Launay said.

“Mixed reality can help the surgeon guide their positioning because when you’re doing a shoulder surgery the field of view is really restricted. But if you can see the 3D hologram of the scapula at the same time, the surgeon can see things he may otherwise be unable to see without mixed reality technology; it’s like being able to see what lies behind a wall”.

Greenslopes Private Hospital Chief Executive Officer Chris Went said the hospital was committed to supporting improvements in technology that can offer patients a wider range of treatment options.

“This is such an exciting medical milestone which further illustrates Greenslopes’ commitment to research and development to help deliver excellent health care for our patients,” Ms Went said.

Dr Gupta is a sub specialist orthopaedic shoulder surgeon based at Greenslopes Private Hospital, and is also the Director of the Queensland Unit for Advanced Shoulder Research (QUASR), at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.

“The immersive technology is being used under an ethically approved clinical trial and the technology is being validated by the biomedical engineering team at QUASR,” Dr Gupta said.

QUASR is a dedicated, multi-skilled and transformational shoulder research facility with more than 40 researchers working on bio-mechanical, computational, modelling, robotics, neuromuscular and gait projects alongside a dedicated cadaveric lab.

3D holographic technology used in shoulder surgery