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    Jul 01, 2013

    New 3-D system helps surgeons get the picture

    THE Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Sony have jointly developed a new system that enables multiple doctors wearing head-mounted displays to see 3-D images of a target area - captured by an endoscope - during surgery.

    The system was developed by Dr Kazunori Kihara, a professor at the university, and Sony, and will likely attract attention worldwide as a next-generation surgical system, sources said.

    The system utilises commercially-available displays for watching 3-D movies at home.

    The displays are integrated with an operation technique called Portless Endoscopic Surgery (PLES), developed by Dr Kihara in 1998. In PLES, an endoscope and other surgical tools are inserted into a patient's body through a hole in the abdomen measuring 3-4cm in diameter.

    The 3-D displays allow doctors to clearly assess the depth of a target organ in the patient's body. Therefore, operations involving blood vessels and organs deep inside the body can be conducted more safely and accurately.

    With the new system, a surgeon, his assistants and the doctor manipulating the endoscope can work together, viewing the same 3-D images on their individual head-mounted displays.

    During clinical-research trials that have taken place since October 2011, the new system was used in about 250 operations, including those for kidney and prostate cancer.

    "(As doctors) can monitor organs in a sterile manner, operations can be conducted more safely and precisely," Dr Kihara said.