Apple Vision Pro just used for performing spinal surgery — here's how

eXeX and Cromwell Hospital pioneer the First Use of Apple Vision Pro in UK Surgery.
(Image credit: eXeX)

If you thought the Apple Vision Pro was just useful for immersive movie watching and extending your MacBook display, think again. A team of surgeons in the U.K. just used Apple’s $3,500 headset to assist with actual spinal surgery. Yes, really.

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves — I don’t mean the actual surgeons themselves had Vision Pro headsets strapped to their faces during the procedure. Instead, it was worn by an assisting surgical scrub nurse who used the device to access “surgical setup and the procedural guides from within the sterile field of the operating theatre.” 

Which, when you think about it, is actually pretty sensible. I’m no doctor, but I have watched every episode of House M.D. — so having someone with vast amounts of medical data easily accessible right there next to the surgeon could be a game changer. And since the Apple Vision Pro boasts pretty decent video passthrough as well as not requiring the wearer to hold any kind of controller, I guess the scrub nurse would be able to materially help as well, if called upon.

The surgery in question was two microspinal procedures carried out at London's Cromwell Hospital in the U.K. The hospital has partnered with eXeX, a technology platform leveraging artificial intelligence and spatial computing for surgical organization and workflow optimization.

The eXeX software works with Vision Pro to provide nurses and technicians with “data and visualization that was previously never available.”

According to Mr Syed Aftab, Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon, the spatial computing technology makes a “huge difference to the way we deliver care to our patients.” 

He explained: “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 U.K. 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 U.K."

Of course, those with a longer memory will note Apple isn’t the first to position an AR device inside the operating theater. Microsoft’s oft-forgotten HoloLens 2 has also been utilized in a medical setting. According to the National Library of Medicine, Microsoft’s headset has been deployed “in a variety of applications such as medical and surgical aids and systems, medical education and simulation, architecture and several engineering fields.”

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Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

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