Assisted By An iPad, German Surgeons Have Operated On A Patient’s Liver

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Doctors in Germany have just used an iPad to operate on some guy’s liver, not by smashing the screen and using the jagged shards as a scalpel, but by using Apple’s tablet as a second-screen for an augmented reality app. Will wonders never cease? Is there anything the iPad can’t do?

According to Reuters, surgeons in Bremen were able to use their iPad to create a virtual, three-dimensional plan for their patient’s tricky procedure. They created a scan of the patient’s liver prior to surgery, then, when they opened their patient up, took a picture of the liver. They then used an app to overlay their surgery plan atop the pulsing, throbbing, doubtlessly squirting organ.

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Why the augmented reality app? The surgeons say that it allowed them to avoid potential complications by having the layout of the liver visible before surgery had even begun. It lead to a more efficient operation. And it’s not just good for livers, either: the team behind the app says it could also be used to remove tumors from other organs.

Absolutely amazing. I never could manage to even get very far in that classic old Nintendo DS surgery game, Trauma Center. The fact that there are doctors out there holding a scalpel in one hand and an iPad in the other, saving lives, seems like a miracle of dexterity to me.

  • SenseiRon

    Funny, if this were to happen in a school, it would be considered cheating.

  • patrickahles

    I sure hope the patient’s liver was not pulsing or throbbing. That would have been quite a different operation…

  • iSteve

    And people was laughing when Steve said that the iPad was magical…

    Steve knew the destiny of the iPad before us….miss you Master.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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