VR in the OR: New technology changes the way surgeons teach

In a Beverly Hills operating room, Dr. Shirin Towfigh preps a woman for hernia surgery. She’s about to make history. It’s not the surgery itself, that’s remarkable. It’s the way it’s being live streamed.  A 360 degree camera captures everything from surgery prep to closure. Dr. Towfigh addresses her audience, and is amazed when she hears in just the first 10 minutes, people from 50 countries tuned in to watch.

“We had Italy, Belarus, Kazakstan, Russia; we had them from all over the country too,” said Brian Conyers, CEO and founder of GibLib.  That’s the technology company that provides a platform for doctors to connect globally.
Doctors have long shared surgery videos but typically the perspective is from the surgery site only. The 360 Fly 360 degree 360 Fly camera allows viewers to see the entire operating room.  Matt Gordon showed me the bigger than a golf ball, smaller than an orange camera, available to the consumer market. “This is our action sports camera. It’s durable, submersible, designed for the outdoor enthusiast.”

But now, the medical community is anxious to use the camera in other ways.This is 4k video and when viewed on a smart phone or tablet, the viewer can focus in on exactly what interests them.  Melissa Schneider is a surgical tech student.

Once she finishes school, she will be the one to assist the surgeon.  So, her focus is on how the table is laid out with the tools, how Dr. Towfigh’s surgical tech approaches the tools and in what way he hands them to her. 

Thanks to the GibLib app, she can pinch and spread the screen to zoom into her area of interest.  She can move the perspective with just a light swipe.

Calvin Cao is a pre-med student at USC.  So early in his education, he doesn’t have access to an OR.  He said, with this technology, he could have the experience of being in an OR without even living home.  Then, with the Google Cardboard virtual realty platform, he can view the action in the OR and feel even more immersed.
Dr. Towfigh continues the surgery, her work with the laparoscope is projected on a monitor inside the OR.

Brian of GibLib tells her, there are questions and comments coming over the app.  “Can you just talk about the benefits of laparoscopy vs. open repair?”  And, texted comments like “This is so awesome!”

The real purpose of the platform is to go beyond the awesome and engage doctors from countries that might not have access to the latest surgical techniques.  Dr. Towfigh is excited about reaching doctors all over to share her knowledge and techniques


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