Most surgeons are forced to turn their heads away from the surgical field to see various intraoperative support monitors. These movements may result in inconvenience to surgeons and lead to technical difficulties and potential errors. Wearable devices that can be attached to smart glasses or any glasses are novel visualization tools providing an alternative screen in front of the user’s eyes, allowing surgeons to keep their attention focused on the operative task without taking their eyes off the surgical field. The aim of the present study was to examine the feasibility of using glasses equipped with a wearable display device that transmits display monitor data during fluoroscopically guided minimally invasive spinal instrumentation surgery.
In this pilot prospective randomized study, 20 consecutively enrolled patients who underwent single-segment posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) at L5–S1 performed using the percutaneous pedicle screw technique were randomly divided into two groups, a group for which the surgeon used a wearable display device attached to regular glasses while performing surgery (smart glasses group) and a group for which the surgeon did not use such a device (nonglasses group). Real-time intraoperative fluoroscopic images were wirelessly transmitted to the display device attached to the surgeon’s glasses. The number of head turns performed by the surgeon to view the standard fluoroscopic monitor during procedures and the operative time, estimated blood loss, radiation exposure time, screw placement accuracy, and intraoperative complication rate were evaluated for comparison between the two groups.
The number of surgeon head turns to view the fluoroscopic monitor in the smart glasses group was 0.10 ± 0.31 times, which was significantly fewer than the head turns in the nonglasses group (82.4 ± 32.5 times; p < 0.001). The operative and radiation exposure times in the smart glasses group were shorter than those in the nonglasses group (operative time 100.2 ± 10.4 vs 105.5 ± 14.6 minutes, radiation exposure time 38.6 ± 6.6 vs 41.8 ± 16.1 seconds, respectively), although the differences were not significant. Postoperative CT showed one screw perforation in the nonglasses group, and no intraoperative complications were observed in either group.
This is, to the authors’ knowledge, the first report on the feasibility of using this wearable display device attached to glasses for fluoroscopically guided minimally invasive spinal instrumentation surgery. Smart glasses display devices such as this one may be a valid option to facilitate better concentration on operative tasks by improving ergonomic efficiency during surgery.