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Curr Opin Urol. 2012 Mar;22(2):121-6. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e3283501774.

Current progress on augmented reality visualization in endoscopic surgery.

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  • 1USC Institute of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.



Advancements in surgery are progressing at a rapid rate; however, there are still limitations, including the ability to accurately visualize the target organ, in particular during laparoscopic surgery. Augmented reality visualization is a novel technique that has been developed to allow the fusion of three-dimensional medical images, such as those from transrectal ultrasound or computed tomography/MRI, with live camera images in real-time. In this review, we describe the current advancements and future directions of augmented reality and its application to laparoscopic surgery.


Geometrically-correct superimposed images can be generated by tracking of the laparoscope and registration of the target organ. The fused image between the live laparoscopic images and the reconstructed three-dimensional organ model aides the surgeon in his or her understanding of anatomical structures. Laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgeries in both general surgery and urology have been performed with technical success to date. The primary limitation of the current augmented reality systems is its infancy in dynamic tracking of organ motion or deformation. Recently, augmented reality systems with organ tracking based on real-time image analysis were developed. Further improvement and/or development of such new technologies would resolve these issues.


Augmented reality visualization is a significant advancement, improving the precision of laparoscopic/endoscopic surgery. New technologies to improve the dynamic tracking of organ motion or deformation are currently under investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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