UK cancer surgery to be live-streamed via virtual reality technology

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Shafi AhmedBy  – The Guardian.

Surgeon Shafi Ahmed will carry out procedure for viewers to watch using mobile phone and VR headset

An operation on a British cancer patient is to be live-streamed around the world using virtual reality technology designed to make viewers feel as if they are in the operating theatre.

It will be performed by Shafi Ahmed, a London surgeon who has been at the forefront of pioneering virtual reality technology in surgery, and who described next month’s operation as a game changer for healthcare innovation and education.

The patient, a British man in his 70s with cancer of the colon, has not been named but was said to be excited about the prospect of having his operation watched internationally.

Viewers will be able to watch the surgery at the Royal London hospital from 1pm on 14 April using a smartphone and virtual reality headset. The operation, which will be filmed by a number of specialist cameras placed above the operating table, is expected to last between two and three hours.

It will run a minute or so behind the surgery in case of any unforeseen complications.

While trainee physicians have traditionally had to settle for looking over the shoulder of a surgeon, the technology will allow users to position themselves anywhere and view the operation from all angles.

Ahmed, a consultant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s hospital, said that the technology would “address the global inequalities in surgical health” and allow trainees and surgeons to connect and train remotely across the world… read the full article and watch the video.
[hr] Screening: The surgery will be screened on 14th April 2016 – anyone can view (the public, students and healthcare professionals) either via the app, Google Cardboard or online. Visit the website for more information.

Image: Shafi Ahmed tries out the virtual reality technology, which will allow trainee surgeons to closely follow complex surgeries from early in their careers. Photograph: Medical Realities/PA


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