Google-glass-in-an-operating-theatreModern technology is a huge part of every facial plastic surgery procedure, from images taken during the consultation process to tools for postoperative recovery. A few years back, Google announced the launch of a new eyeglass technology with potential applications in plastic surgery and many other medical specialties as well as other industries. Google Glass is a hands-free, computerized device that is mounted to the head. It provides information to the person wearing it and allows the wearer to record and share both photos and videos.

The technology was widely panned in the press, and most of us assumed (or read) that it had been discontinued. In reality, it was simply moved to a product development group and has since shown promise in a number of areas, including plastic surgery and other medical specialties.

Now Google Glass is back in the news thanks to a recent report published in one of the major plastic surgery journals.

Wasn’t Google Glass Discontinued?

Launched in 2013, the Google Glass Explorer program was designed to test the product and determine what people were likely to use it for.

In the ensuing years, a number of misconceptions and outright falsehoods were reported in the press. During the Explorer program, Google was not attempting to mass-produce the technology and get it into everyone’s hands. In fact, the company took steps to limit its dissemination during that time; for a significant period, the technology was only available by invitation.

In January of 2015 Google announced the end of the Explorer program and transition of Google Glass from the Google X lab to a product development group. The transition was erroneously reported as being a failure, presumably because the company didn’t take steps to mass-produce the technology, even though this was never the company’s intention at that stage of development and testing.

Google Glass was not discontinued and continues to show promise in numerous areas.

Google Glass Promising, According to the Plastic Surgery Journal

Recently, a Google testing program let plastic surgeons from Georgetown assess the effectiveness of Google Glass in the operating room.

The surgeons reported several potential advantages of using the technology during surgery, according to a report published in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

The plastic surgeons used Glass for a number of reconstructive and cosmetic surgery procedures. They were then asked about their overall experience, including such factors as the quality of the images captured, level of comfort and how easy it was to use the technology.

Overall, the surgeons rated Google Glass highly in terms of comfort and general satisfaction. Surgeons gave the technology a rating of “good” for its voice-activated image and video capturing feature. They rated the quality of photos and videos at almost four on a scale of one to five.

Comparatively speaking the surgeons were less impressed with the device’s “wink” feature. In addition, they said they had difficulty reviewing images while performing surgery.

A third of the surgeons thought Glass was distracting. They reported having to bend their neck or head into uncomfortable positions — or take their eyes away from the surgical field — to take pictures.

An editorial stemming from the testing program highlighted the numerous potential advantages of using Google Glass during surgery. This included recording procedures for the purpose of training and the ability to access the patient’s imaging results and other medical records.

What Applications Can Dr. Rizk See with Google Glass?

Dr. Rizk believes that Google Glass is a promising development with significant potential for integration into facial plastic surgery practices. There are a number of possible advantages of using a computer that is hands-free, mounted to the head and activated by voice while viewing a screen in OR, including the ability to review patient data as well as obtain pictures and videos of the surgical field during surgery. The potential ability to consult with colleagues during a procedure without moving away from the operating table or leaving the operating room, or having to ask a colleague to come to the operating room, would be invaluable. Also, facial plastic surgeons depend on images to document patient results, and Google Glass may eventually be extremely helpful in this capacity.
To learn more about Google Glass and other state-of-the-art technologies used in facial plastic surgery, contact Dr. Rizk today.