Heads-up 3D Microscopy: An Ergonomic and Educational Approach to Microsurgery

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Traditional microsurgery can lead surgeons to use postures that cause musculoskeletal fatigue, leaving them more prone to work-related injuries. A new technology from TrueVision transmits the microscopic image onto a 3-dimensional (3D) monitor, allowing surgeons to operate while sitting/standing in a heads-up position. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of performing heads-up 3D microscopy as a more ergonomic alternative to traditional microsurgery. A feasibility study was conducted comparing heads-up 3D microscopy and traditional microscopy by performing femoral artery anastomoses on 8 Sprague-Dawley rats. Operative times and patency rates for each technology were compared. The 8 microsurgeons completed a questionnaire comparing image quality, comfort, technical feasibility, and educational value of the 2 technologies. Rat femoral artery anastomoses were successfully carried out by all 8 microsurgeons with each technology. There was no significant difference in anastomosis time between heads-up 3D and traditional microscopy (average times, 34.5 and 33.8 minutes, respectively; P = 0.66). Heads-up 3D microscopy was rated superior in neck and back comfort by 75% of participants. Image resolution, field of view, and technical feasibility were found to be superior or equivalent in 75% of participants, whereas 63% evaluated depth perception to be superior or equivalent. Heads-up 3D microscopy is a new technology that improves comfort for the microsurgeon without compromising image quality or technical feasibility. Its use has become prevalent in the field of ophthalmology and may also have utility in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

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