Current developments in the field of extended reality (XR) could prove useful in the optimization of surgical workflows, time effectiveness and postoperative outcome. Although still primarily a subject of research, the state of XR technologies is rapidly improving and approaching feasibility for a broad clinical application. Surgical fields of application of XR technologies are currently primarily training, preoperative planning and intraoperative assistance. For all three areas, products already exist (some clinically approved) and technical feasibility studies have been conducted. In teaching, the use of XR can already be assessed as fundamentally practical and meaningful but still needs to be evaluated in large multicenter studies. In preoperative planning XR can also offer advantages, although technical limitations often impede routine use; however, for cases of intraoperative use informative evaluation studies are mostly lacking, so that an assessment is not yet possible in a meaningful way. Furthermore, there is a lack of assessments regarding cost-effectiveness in all three areas. The XR technologies enable proven advantages in surgical workflows despite the lack of high-quality evaluation with respect to the practical and clinical use of XR. New concepts for effective interaction with XR media also need to be developed. In the future, further research progress and technical developments in the field can be expected.
Authors are C.Rüger, S. Moosburner and I.M. Sauer (Chirurg 2020; 91(7): 544-552)