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Miami Valley Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center Enhances Research Opportunities

DAYTON, Ohio (August 19, 2019) – Miami Valley Hospital’s Clinical Research Center is conducting a clinical trial using augmented reality during surgery to stabilize broken ribs. Augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view that enhances the natural environment or situation.

Using the Microsoft HoloLens headset, a 3-dimensional hologram of the patient is projected to the surgeon to serve as a roadmap. The holograms are centered into the field of view, leaving both the center and peripheral vision unimpeded. The images are interactive in real-time and controlled by the surgeon using simple hand gestures.

“This study will help to determine if an augmented reality headset can be used in real-time in the operating room as a viable way to fix broken ribs,” said Gregory Semon, DO, primary investigator and assistant professor of surgery at Wright State University. “This technology allows the surgeon to see exactly where the rib fractures are which means smaller incisions, less pain after surgery and quicker recovery for the patient.”

More than 350,000 patients sustain rib injuries annually in the United States. Rib fractures are a leading cause of death in patients with chest injury. Probability of death increases by 19% with each fractured rib and increases further with advancing age.

The standard protocol for patients who have sustained injury to the chest and rib areas is to undergo a computer tomography (CT) chest scan. The images that are captured, as a necessary means of treatment, can then be applied to this clinical study. The images are reconstructed in 3-D and uploaded to the headset. Patients are not subjected to any additional tests or imaging modalities and there is no cost to participate.

As the region’s only Level 1 trauma center, Miami Valley Hospital facilitates groundbreaking research through the scope and volume of patients seen daily. Patients admitted to Miami Valley Hospital who meet the criteria for the procedure will be enrolled in the study with their consent.

For the first test in July, surgeons practiced on a cadaver. About 12 local subjects will be invited to take part in the research to determine the viability of using augmented reality in real-time in the operating room to stabilize broken ribs. Thomas Sensing, DO, general surgery resident at Wright State University, is the co-investigator.

From social media filters to surgical procedures, augmented reality is rapidly growing in popularity, bringing elements of the virtual world into the real world and enhancing what is seen, heard, and felt. When compared to other reality technologies, augmented reality straddles both the real world and the virtual world.

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