Google Glass Shows Favorable Uses in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Maybe plastic surgeons using Google Glass won't fall into the "Glasshole" meme that has stricken other early adopters of the technology.

Google Glass, that hands-free, computerized eyewear designed to present vital information to the wearer as well as enable recording and sharing of video, can now provide possible applications in plastic surgery, such as improving surgical training, medical documentation, and patient safety, according to a special paper in the March 2015 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In a study presented at the Clinical Cosmetic and Reconstructive Expo in London, United Kingdom on October 10 to 11, 2014 by Christopher R. Davis, M.D., and ASPS member surgeon Lorne K. Rosenfield, M.D. of Stanford University, they emphasized the possibilities and challenges of integrating this innovation into surgical practice and education.

Google Glass enables the wearer to control the device using voice commands, touch, and head position. Live surgery can be recorded from a first-person perspective and streamed to a remote audience, thus allowing dialogue between the surgeon and observers. The ability to demonstrate surgical procedures, live or recorded, may now allow surgeons to receive remote consultations and even “virtual assistance” during actual procedures.

The first Google Glass–recorded plastic surgery procedure was performed on October 29, 2013 by the senior author, Lorne K. Rosenfield, M.D., according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Rosenfield conducted a combined face lift with upper and lower blepharoplasty.

Dr. Lorne K. Rosenfield, the senior author of the study said, "Google Glass allows clinicians to remotely view patient notes, laboratory results, and imaging; training can be augmented via streamed expert master classes; and patient safety can be improved by remote advice from a senior colleague.”

Google Glass could be deemed useful for doctors in providing instant access to medical documentation from a remote location. This could also maintain sterility in the operation room through verbal control, thus reducing the spread of infection from handling computers, pen and paper and other sources.

Like many other technologies, Google Glass can only realize its usefulness with advanced, user-friendly, and continuously developing software. Although acknowledging that many challenges still remain with the Google Glass technology, Dr. Davis and Dr. Rosenfield remain  confident about its potential uses in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

The research was published in the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.