London-based Cromwell Hospital has become the first hospital in the UK and Europe to use Apple Vision Pro in surgery, successfully carrying out two microsurgical spine procedures.

Partnering with augmented reality (AR) surgical software firm, eXeX, which produced software for the Apple headset aimed at optimising workflow and guiding surgical decisions. The private London hospital and the company united in 2023 to introduce AI and Spatial Computing technology to the hospital’s operating theatres, speeding up procedures as well as theatre set-up.

eXeX has said that its software offers nurses and technicians holographic and touch-free access to the surgical setup and the procedural guides from within the sterile field of the operating theatre. The procedures were carried out by Fady Sedra and Syed Aftab, part of the Complex Spine group who operate out of Cromwell Hospital.

Syed Aftab said: “Working with eXeX to use the Apple Vision Pro has made a huge difference to the way we deliver care to our patients. The software is seamless and has improved efficiency within the Complex Spine team.

“It’s a real privilege to be the first team in the UK and Europe to use this software within surgery and I’m looking forward to seeing how this technology advances and the impact it can have across hospitals in the UK.”

GlobalData’s Medical Device Intelligence Centre found that the overall global market for AR was estimated at a value of $7bn in 2020, with that figure expected to grow to $152bn by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36%.

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In the US, the Cleveland-based augmented reality (AR) firm, MediView XR, announced the results of a trial studying its XR90 surgical visualization and navigation system, aimed at giving clinicians the ability to see a patient’s internal anatomy in 3D, including bone, tissue, organs, and vasculature.

Kate Bovell, the Chief Operating Officer at Cromwell Hospital said “At Cromwell Hospital, we are committed to innovation and improving how healthcare is delivered to benefit all patients, whether it is through harnessing robotic or AI technology, or using the latest, evidence-based approaches to deliver care.

“eXeX stands at the forefront of surgical technological advancements, and their philosophy for patient outcomes is inspiring. We are delighted to be working with them.”