UAB Oral Oncology among first in Southeast to use augmented reality in head and neck cancer surgery
The Oral Oncology Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is taking patient imaging beyond flat screens with the new Brainlab Mixed Reality Viewer. This new platform uses mixed reality technology to showcase a hyper-realistic 3D view of patients’ head and neck tumors. UAB is the only hospital in Alabama and one of 15 hospitals in the nation that are using this platform, leveraging augmented reality to assist in cancer surgery.
With this technology, surgeons at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB can take scans of a patient’s tumor and transform them into an image that allows for a 360-degree view of the interior and exterior of the skull and tumor, allowing surgeons to seamlessly move throughout compartments of the head and neck. The platform also gives surgeons a real-time three-dimensional navigation of complex tumors, so they can easily sort through the layers of the skull and gain insights into the tumor and surrounding anatomical structures like major arteries and skull base. This platform offers surgeons clear and superior margins for tumors and allows them to maintain normal tissue and anatomy during their procedures, leading to better patient outcomes.
“Prior to this technology, the surgeon’s ability to resect a tumor could be restricted based on the limited visibility of vital structures,” said Anthony Morlandt, M.D., DDS, a professor with dual appointment in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Department of Otolaryngology at UAB. “Now we have even more resources available to us that allow us to develop the best possible solution to each patient’s condition.”
Morlandt says he is thrilled to be able to offer this technology to UAB patients.
“We realize a head and neck tumor can be life-changing, so we are always searching for resources that can help us identify the best course of treatment for each of our patients,” Morlandt said.
In addition to using this platform to help patients with head and neck tumors, Morlandt also looks forward to using it to help train and mentor the next generation of leaders in oral oncology.
“With the quality of this video and the real-time imaging this platform offers, we can teach fellows from around the world how to use this technology both in and outside of the classroom,” Morlandt said. “We’re proud to offer this new technology that allows us to better serve our patients and students.”