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Using Google Glass in Medicine

Google GlassJeff Colyer, MD, with Plastic Surgical Arts, P.A., is using the latest Google product to enhance his surgery procedures. Selected as one of several Google Glass  “Explorers” or beta testers across the country, Dr. Colyer is using this state-of-the-art technology to assist him during surgery.

Dr. Colyer dons his “glasses” and with a quick nod of his head and a voice command of “OK, Glass!” he activates them and sees the screen light up. The content of the tiny screen looks large when viewed inches from your eye. The data that has been loaded appears in a neat format, and another voice command, “CT scan,” opens the image previously loaded.

Using Bluetooth technology, Dr. Colyer uploads CT scans (and other images) onto his Google Glass, and during surgery he can virtually impose that image over his patient’s own face. “I no longer have to continually glance at a monitor across the room and compare it to what I’m doing. With Google Glass projecting the image in front of me, the information is where I need it, when I need it, and my hands remain free to operate,” he explains. “With this technology, I can virtually see through a patient’s skin to the trauma below.”

Google Glass

More Visibility

Dr. Colyer recently repaired a facial fracture injury with a less invasive surgery than he would have had to perform previously because the projected CT scan showed him exactly where he needed to make incisions. The patient had a faster recovery with less scarring. 

During a recent ORIF (open reduction internal fixation) procedure at North Kansas City Hospital, Dr. Colyer called up the patient’s CT, allowing him to determine exactly how far he could probe into this patient’s orbital cavity to make the repair.  This technique pinpoints vital structures like the optic nerve, so it is much safer for the patient.

Dr. Colyer can upload anything to his Google Glass that he could to a computer. Since each case is different, the files he uses are varied.  Google Glass also allows him to video record and video feed his surgeries, which he finds invaluable in teaching scenarios.

The Future

Google Glass SurgeryThe new technology is here to stay, Dr. Colyer believes. “When a tool affords a surgeon better outcomes, shorter operating times and better results, it’s not a fad. It’s another tool at our disposal.” He predicts widespread acceptance as further medical uses are discovered.

Jeffrey Colyer, MD

Jeff ColyerDr. Colyer graduated from Georgetown University, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge. He received his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and completed a plastic surgery residency at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and a craniofacial fellowship at the International Craniofacial Institute. Dr. Colyer frequently volunteers in warzones like Rwanda, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.

To learn more, call 913-338-5600.