Doc Uses Google Glass to Live Stream ACL Knee Surgery

There's been a ton of hoopla surrounding Google Glass and the potential privacy issues the platform raises, but lost in all the negatively about the search giant's wearable computing device is the potential it offers for learning and innovation. Serving as a reminder of why technology rocks, a surgeon at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center became the first in the United States to consult with a distant colleague using live, point-of-view video from the operating room courtesy of Google Glass.

"It’s a privilege to be a part of this project as we explore how this exciting new technology might be incorporated into the everyday care of our patients," said Dr. Christopher Kaeding, the physician who performed the surgery and director of sports medicine at Ohio State. "To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there. It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly."

Surgery Glass
A surgeon wearing Google Glass performs ACL surgery on a 47-year-old woman.

Kaeding wore the device as he performed anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on Paula Kobalka, a 47-year-old from Westerville, Ohio, who injured her kneed playing softball. Through the use of Google Glass, Kaeding was able to live stream the procedure to a facility on the east side of Columbus, where medical students watched from their laptops.

Medical Students
Medical students in a remote location view the surgery live on their laptops as it's beamed via Google Glass.

"To have the opportunity to be a medical student and share in this technology is really exciting," said Ryan Blackwell, a second-year medical student who watched the surgery remotely. "This could have huge implications, not only from the medical education perspective, but because a doctor can use this technology remotely, it could spread patient care all over the world in places that we don’t have it already."

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wearable computing like Glass opens the door to all kinds of uses, like being able to bring up X-Ray or MRI images using voice commands. Doctors could also collaborate with each other from remote locations.