Mr Erik Mayer uses augmented reality at the da Vinci Xi console

The Royal Marsden is trialling the use of augmented reality during robotic surgery for patients with prostate, testicular or kidney cancer.

Scans taken before surgery are superimposed onto the surgeon’s ‘view’ inside a patient’s body. This is displayed on a tablet device attached to the da Vinci Xi robot and within the robotic console itself. The image shows any target organs for the procedure, as well as the surrounding anatomy, to help guide the surgeon’s actions.

Mr Erik Mayer, Consultant Surgeon, said: “Robotic surgical systems have rapidly advanced the field of minimally invasive surgery, but there is one key challenge compared to traditional open surgery: an increasing sensory distance between surgeon and patient.

"As you lose the sensation of touch with robotic surgery and can’t feel the tissue, there is a growing interest in using augmented reality to enhance the surgeon’s vision, providing them with crucial information to better guide surgery." 

"With this technology, surgeons will have a better appreciation of the target organ and surrounding anatomy, including revealing sub-surface structures that wouldn’t have been visible in open surgery. This gives the surgeon even greater control and tailors
surgical dissection based on the patient’s anatomy."

This study is a collaboration between The Royal Marsden and the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, supported by the National Institute for Health Research. It brings together the multidisciplinary expertise of surgeons, radiologists and engineers and aligns with the Cancer Research Centre of Excellence strategic partnership between Imperial College London and The Institute of Cancer Research.