A new FDA-approved device allows surgeons to see their next step before actually performing it.

Photo Credit: Surgical Theater

Photo Credit: Surgical Theater

The FDA has given clearance to an augmented reality device that allows surgeons to see their next step before they perform it. Surgical Theater, the company behind the technology, was inspired by flight simulators to help doctors prep for upcoming surgeries. Their goal is to improve the clinical outcomes of complex procedures. 

The Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP for short) provides guidance to surgeons, based on the patient's CT or MRI scan. This helps physicians find the most efficient and safest way to, for example, remove brain tumors and perform vascular surgeries. 

Using augmented reality, surgeons are able to simulate the surgery with a plan for scenarios that may occur on the operating table. 

SNAP is being added as an integrated surgery device at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. Chairman of the neurological surgery department, Dr. Warren R. Selman, says using the technology is kind of like watching a football game. 

"…Multiple cameras are located around the arena and an editor can freeze the image, rotate, zoom in, zoom out and see things that he could not otherwise see. In my recent surgeries, I was able to pause the navigation scene during the surgery to rotate the image and to verify that I removed the entire tumor and to make sure that I was within a safe distance from a vital artery while removing the tumor."

See how SNAP works in the video below.