Mixed Reality Surgery

In 2022, The Medical Center at Bowling Green became the first hospital in Kentucky to offer shoulder arthroplasty with the assistance of a new mixed reality technology platform, Stryker’s Blueprint Mixed RealityTM.

Blueprint Mixed Reality is the latest software solution from Stryker Trauma & Extremities that allows surgeons to reference and interact with a holographic representation of their pre-operative Blueprint plan, in real-time, while operating.

“The Blueprint Mixed Reality technology allows me to tailor shoulder joint replacement procedures to the unique needs and anatomy of my patients, which will offer the potential to perform a more precise and personalized shoulder replacement, compared to traditional surgical options,” said Dr. Chaitu Malempati, orthopaedic surgeon with Med Center Health Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. “It is my goal to be up-to-date on the newest technology and surgical advancements that can help my patients achieve optimal outcomes. To bring this technology to our state is significant in improving results in shoulder arthroplasty.”

Where virtual reality immerses the viewer into a completely virtual world, mixed reality overlays 3D holographic images with real-life, allowing the two to interact. The 3D hologram technology enables a surgeon to maintain a direct view of the surgical site and simultaneously visualize and manipulate a holographic representation of the patient’s native anatomy and pre-operative plan. By using hand gestures and voice commands, the surgeon can interact with a robust data set to optimize the position of the 3D holographic models.

“It’s been great,” said Dr. Malempati. “I put this holographic image right next to my incision on the surgical field, so while I’m working, I can keep referencing the anatomy, and it will show me the implants and the range of motion of the shoulder once the implants are in. It will also show me any points where there may be impingement, so I can interact with that throughout the entire surgery.”

The mixed reality platform isn’t just helping Med Center Health surgeons during operations. It is also allowing patients to better visualize and understand exactly what will occur during their procedure.

“During a consultation in the office, I’m able to show the patient what our plan is,” said Dr. Malempati. “I can put the glasses on them, and they’ll be able to see the plan. They’ll be able to see their anatomy so they understand a little bit about what we’re doing. Now, they understand that we’re coming up with an entire plan before surgery. We’re mapping out the entire shoulder, and I’m able to tell them what size of implants we’re putting in before surgery. I’m able to tell them that I’ll be interacting with this anatomic holographic image, and they seem much more comfortable after learning this way.”