On Thursday, April 14, the British doctor Shafi Ahmed performed the world’s first surgery broadcasted around the world via virtual reality. With this, he brought surgery even further into the 21st century.
The operation began at 1 p.m. local time at the Royal London Hospital and lasted about three hours.It was live-streamed on Medical Realities website for people who don’t own a VR headset. As for the rest, they were instructed to download “VR in OR” app to get immersed in the 360-degree surgery room and watch closely as Ahmed performed the operation.
Arguing that this cutting-edge technology brings a valuable feature to education, Ahmed told The Guardian that “there will be noise, there will be the immersive factor – so that will add different layers of educational value.” What’s more, he believes that this approach could make healthcare more equitable and thus improve the training of surgeons worldwide. “[During an operation] I am teaching people, talking to them, there is communication going on – so it’ll be just an extension of that,” he added.
Besides being a full-time surgeon, Ahmed is the co-founder of the site that made the broadcast possible, Medical Realities. And he’s no stranger to live-streaming either: two years ago he live-streamed another surgery using the technology provided by Google Glass, reports Tech Insider.