I've built an immersive virtual reality camera system designed to capture the operating surgeon's perspective. But why? And how?
Surgeons watch operative video like quarterbacks watch game film on Monday mornings. We study the nuances of technique, searching for any edge that might bring us a safer, more effective operation.
Or at least, we should.
There's been decades of mounting evidence that watching operative footage improves your performance, but in my experience in residency, only a few surgeons that I know are video recording every case with an explicit goal of self improvement.
That's for laparoscopic and robotic cases – almost no one is capturing open surgical video.
Part of the problem is that it's difficult to capture open surgical technique.
In the minimally invasive surgical world, since the camera literally drives the operation, they've even gone as far as to develop guidelines to detail what should be included in operative videos that are deemed worthy of publication as educational or training materials .
These guidelines are very useful and set reasonable minimal minimal standards. But for open surgery, since we don't rely on a camera to do the operation, we are way behind in thinking about how to best capture these procedures.
Ever since there have been cameras to take into operating rooms, there has been the perennial problem of how best to film the operating surgeon.
There remain a number of variety technical challenges:
- How to get the camera in the right position without impeding the surgeon or assistant?
- How to deal with harsh operative light?
- How to focus on the operative site and the operating surgeon?
If you do a quick YouTube search for first-person Most head-mounted operative footage uses a simple GoPro setup, and modern GoPro setups are more than capable of capturing operative technique.
For more, read our manuscript: "A Head-Mounted Gimbal-Stabilized Stereoscopic Camera System for Capturing Immersive First-Person Perspective Surgical Video" in press at Surgical Innovation.
 Celentano, V., Smart, N., McGrath, J., Cahill, R. A., Spinelli, A., Obermair, A., ... & Pellino, G. (2018). LAP-VEGaS practice guidelines for reporting of educational videos in laparoscopic surgery: a joint trainers and trainees consensus statement. Annals of surgery, 268(6), 920-926.
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