shutterstock_190185665Google Glass may help enhance surgical training, medical documentation, and patient safety, according to a report in the March 2015 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

In the study, Christopher R. Davis, MD, and Lorne K. Rosenfield, MD, of Stanford University reviewed and analyzed previous reports on medical and surgical uses of Google Glass, focusing on its potential application in plastic surgery. They presented Rosenfield’s experience in performing the first plastic surgery procedure with Glass—a blepharoplasty in combination with a facelift.

Check out the video of Rosenfield’s experience with Google Glass in the OR here.

Challenges did exist, including the limited resolution of the video camera, technical difficulties in streaming, and the need for the surgeon to keep the head in a fixed position. In subsequent procedures, Rosenfield fashioned a head-mounted, extra-wide LED light to improve clarity for video viewers as well as for the surgeon.

The ability to demonstrate surgical procedures, live or recorded, has obvious applications for training in plastic surgery and other disciplines. The recordings also have unique value for self-evaluation by the surgeon, the authors note. In the future, Glass technology many enable surgeons to receive remote consultations and even “virtual assistance” during actual procedures. Glass may also be useful in providing rapid access to medical documentation—for example, doctors could call up and view necessary medical records, imaging studies, or checklists. This might even reduce the spread of infection from handling pens and paper, computers, and other sources.

Although logistical, ethical, and hospital legislative issues will need to be addressed before Glass can be fully embedded within everyday clinical care, “the future of Glass in surgery is very promising and has the potential to make an empowering impact upon the contemporary plastic surgeon not only as a teaching tool for the observer, but for the surgeons themselves,” the study authors conclude.