Current and Future Applications of Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality in Cardiothoracic Surgery

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Background: This review aims to examine the existing literature to address currently used virtual, augmented, and mixed reality modalities in the areas of preoperative surgical planning, intraoperative guidance, and postoperative management in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. In addition this innovative technology provides future perspectives and potential benefits for cardiothoracic surgeons, trainees, and patients. Methods: A targeted, nonsystematic literature assessment was performed within the Medline and Google Scholar databases to help identify current trends and to provide better understanding of the current state-of-the-art extended reality (XR) modalities in cardiothoracic surgery. Related articles published up to July 2020 were included in the review. Results: XR is a novel technique gaining increasing application in cardiothoracic surgery. It provides a 3-dimensional and realistic view of structures and environments and offers the user the ability to interact with digital projections of surgical targets. Recent studies showed the validity and benefits of XR applications in cardiothoracic surgery. Examples include XR-guided preoperative planning, intraoperative guidance and navigation, postoperative pain and rehabilitation management, surgical simulation, and patient education. Conclusions: XR is gaining interest in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. In particular there are promising roles for XR applications in televirtuality, surgical planning, surgical simulation, and perioperative management. However future refinement and research are needed to further implement XR in the aforementioned settings within cardiothoracic surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-691
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date18 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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© 2022 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons


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