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Dr Omar Rahman, Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Specialist, Header logo

Research in Emerging Technologies

Dr. Rahman is a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technologies to maximize patient outcomes including Augmented Reality in Preoperative Planning and Intraoperative Guidance, Virtual Reality in Arthroscopy and Surgical Education, and use of Virtual Reality as a Pain Control Modality / Alternative to Narcotic Medications after Surgery.

Extended Reality in Orthopedic Surgery

Extended reality (XR) in orthopedic surgery is a term that incorporates different modalities, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) for diagnosis, preoperative planning, and surgical treatment in orthopedic surgery. Compared to standard stereotaxic systems these advancements are intended to improve accuracy, precision, ergonomics, decreased surgical time, and patient outcomes.

One of the main advantages of implementing XR solutions in orthopedic surgery is improving patient outcomes and safety as a result of the enhanced visualization and interaction capabilities these technologies provide. For example, the use of XR technologies in preoperative planning has been shown to enhance a surgeon’s spatial awareness of important anatomical bony landmarks. This improved understanding of patient anatomy can result in shorter operating sessions, ultimately reducing surgical insult. In turn, this contributes to a decrease in complications and an overall improvement in patient care. Moreover, XR technologies promote more effective and efficient training for healthcare professionals. By providing immersive, realistic simulations, orthopedic students and experienced practitioners can refine their skills without the risk of harming real patients. This learning environment enables the exploration of complex or rare cases, allowing healthcare professionals to be better prepared for a wide variety of settings.

Another potential advantage of adopting XR solutions in orthopedic surgery is the reduction in connected costs. Due to the improved efficiency in surgical procedures and the potential reduction in complications, healthcare practitioners can save on operational costs, making the overall healthcare process more sustainable. Finally, the integration of XR technologies into healthcare, especially orthopedic surgery, has the potential to revolutionize the field. By allowing better visualization of anatomy, enhancing training methods, and offering more cost-effective solutions, extended reality in orthopedic surgery can be a key contributor to the improvement of patient outcomes and surgical efficiency.

How Does Extended Reality in Orthopedic Surgery Work?

Virtual reality and augmented reality are simulated imaging tools employed in orthopedic surgery. Using 2D and 3D image rendering from VR/AR tools, orthopedic surgeons can mimic real surgical procedures and anatomy, boosting preparedness and efficiency in the operating room. With VR and AR in surgery, surgeons have pre-operation access to 3D renderings of knee or hip joints and lots more. In some instances, surgeons even utilize AR-enabled haptic feedback gloves to mimic the buzzing of saws and drills. All of these resources assist in preparing for operations, studying realistic models of patients, and accessing real-time anatomical references and information. Besides being a boon to surgical preparation, these extended reality tools also help hospitals save money and time. The ability to study 3D scans before surgery helps surgeons thoroughly prepare for each case and implement proactive, time-saving procedures. Another positive aspect is the ability to store images and patient data on one AR/VR platform that effectively reduces the need for expensive screens and unnecessary staff.

Indications for Extended Reality in Orthopedic Surgery

Your surgeon may recommend extended reality in orthopedic surgery for a variety of orthopedic procedures, involving bone resection or implant placement, especially in joint replacement surgery such as a hip or knee that requires a high degree of precision, accuracy, and efficiency in bone cutting and implant placement along with preoperative planning.

Extended Reality in Preoperative Planning

Extended reality solutions have been beneficial for surgeons in their presurgical planning stage. By enhancing the surgeon’s spatial awareness of important anatomical landmarks, these technologies can assist in preparing them for complex surgeries. Studies have noted that using virtual reality during preoperative planning has resulted in shorter operating sessions and decreased surgical insult. This not only increases the efficiency of surgical procedures but also contributes to improved patient outcomes.

Extended Reality in Intraoperative Navigation/Guidance

Extended Reality in intraoperative navigation and guidance is crucial for surgical precision. Augmented reality technology has been explored as a means to provide real-time intraoperative assistance for surgeons. AR can overlay critical patient data, such as images of the joints and surrounding soft tissues as well as vital signs, directly onto the surgeon’s field of view. This instant availability of information not only provides a more comprehensive understanding of the patient’s condition and joint structure but also enables the surgeon to act with enhanced dexterity and confidence. In addition to improvising surgical training, AR technology allows for accurate intraoperative guidance and aids in minimizing risks during the surgery. As a result, it can potentially lead to a reduced surgery time and ultimately improve patient safety.

Postoperative Rehabilitation

In postoperative rehabilitation, XR technologies can play a key role in assisting patients to recover more efficiently and effectively. By utilizing interactive and immersive environments, healthcare professionals can create customized rehabilitation plans tailored to individual patients’ needs. These environments enable patients to engage in a more controlled, measurable, and repeatable way, thus ensuring better outcomes throughout the recovery process.

Benefits of Extended Reality in Orthopedic Surgery

Some of the benefits of extended reality in orthopedic surgery include:

  • Access to real-time medical references and information
  • Access to 3D anatomical images and models
  • Accelerates surgical operation preparation times
  • Offers low-risk surgical testing environments
  • Decreased surgical equipment and staff costs


In summary, the application of extended reality solutions in orthopedic surgery has shown a great deal of potential in improving surgeons’ skills and confidence. By improving pre-operative planning, providing real-time information access, and offering immersive training opportunities, XR is becoming an invaluable tool in the evolution of orthopedic surgery. Overall, XR solutions in orthopedic surgical training provide a promising future for amplifying the knowledge and skills of orthopedic surgeons. The incorporation of XR into surgery has been shown to enhance the skills and boost the confidence of surgical professionals, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. These technologies continue to advance, and as they do, the potential benefits of orthopedic surgery will expand even further.