Orthopedic surgeons are using a new technology in the operating room that projects holograms to help guide the surgery—and Warsaw-based Zimmer Biomet is first orthopedic company to use the new mixed reality tool. The method is so high-tech “that [surgeons’] immediate response is usually, ‘Wow, this is incredible,’” says Zimmer Biomet Chief Science, Technology and Innovation Officer Dr. Nitin Goyal. Called HipInsight, the technology is the first FDA-approved mixed reality navigation system for total hip replacement, and the Boston-based creators chose Zimmer Biomet to lead the futuristic charge.
Based on the East Coast, Surgical Planning Associates, Inc. is partnering with Zimmer Biomet in an exclusive, multi-year co-marketing agreement to commercialize HipInsight. Designed for Zimmer Biomet’s hip implant portfolio, the technology involves the surgeon wearing Microsoft HoloLens 2 glasses during a hip procedure. The glasses project a three-dimensional hologram of the patient’s specific pelvic anatomy onto the surgical field, helping the surgeon place the implant in the optimal three-dimensional orientation.
“You’re looking at the patient’s body and seeing inside it before you even cut skin,” says Goyal, who has been a surgeon for 12 years. “It allows you to do things that we just couldn’t do before in terms of seeing anatomical differences between patients. It helps us place parts in ways we just didn’t have the opportunity to before.”
Goyal says precise alignment of the implant is critical in orthopedic surgery, giving a patient the best chance for an optimal outcome and ultimately reducing the risk of complications.
“There are so many different ways to put hip and knee replacement parts into the body and so many different orientations,” says Goyal. “With this tool, now surgeons have [positioning] ability at their fingertips and can place the parts with maximal precision—using a technology that’s super user-friendly and easily portable to whatever operating environment you’re in, whether it’s a small surgery center or a large academic hospital.”
While Surgical Planning Associates could’ve chosen any orthopedic company to partner with, it’s not surprising that the company would look for collaboration in Warsaw, the Orthopedic Capital of the World.
“Zimmer Biomet is the market leader in hip, knee and shoulder replacement and already has a mixed reality portfolio called OptiVu, so we’re leading the charge in innovative, enabling technologies to improve the patient and provider experience, and ultimately, improve patient outcomes,” says Goyal. “So the partnership just made sense.”
Goyal believes HipInsight is just one example of a major shift in orthopedic surgery.
“The old era of putting in parts with the precision of your eye has gone by the wayside. The standard of care is rapidly becoming leveraging technology like this to guide precision,” says Goyal. “I think it’s been a generational change. Especially folks who are finishing residency and fellowship training now, the expectation around how technology should guide surgery is high, and there’s more ready acceptance of technology in the operating room.”
While thrilling for surgeons—Goyal says “the immediate response is usually, ‘Wow, this is incredible’”—he believes the higher standard of care is most exciting for patients.
“That’s what it’s all about; ideally, a patient comes in for the procedure and returns to a fantastic quality of life with decreased pain and gets back to all the things they want to do,” says Goyal. “[HipInsight] gives you a sense of the next-level technology that can be improved upon even further to make even more meaningful changes. [This new standard of care] will improve patient outcomes, and that’s probably the most meaningful thing we can do.”
Goyal says interacting with the hologram in the operating room feels “very surreal” like science fiction.