Centerline Biomedical, a Cleveland Clinic spinoff, is part of this Wall Street Journal story about tech advances that are making the operating room “smarter, more effective — and a lot less risky for patients.” 

From the story:

Hospitals are investing in new devices, designs and digital technologies that promise a new era of innovation for surgery. The moves are part of a growing shift away from traditional open procedures that involve big incisions, lots of blood loss and long hospitalizations. They point toward a future where more patients can choose minimally invasive outpatient surgeries, with faster recoveries, fewer complications, and less pain and scarring.

These new technologies cover a range of advances. With some, surgeons can control robot cameras with eye movements as they move into patients’ bodies through tiny incisions. With others, doctors can create a GPS-like map projected onto a patient’s body to virtually see inside the anatomy before an operation, track their surgical tools and help them operate more precisely.

Centerline is working to improve what surgeons can see. The idea “is an alternative to fluoroscopy guided procedures, the X-ray technology that doctors now use to place a stent graft within an artery,” according to the story.

The traditional approach “not only relies on contrast dyes but also exposes doctors and patients to continuous high doses of radiation,” The Journal says. “The images produced by fluoroscopy are also only 2-D grayscale images. So, Centerline is developing a system to reduce the need for fluoroscopy and prevent the harmful effects of radiation. Using a mathematical algorithm and safe electromagnetic tracking, it provides 3-D color visualization and allows a surgeon to follow the position of instruments within the patient’s anatomy on a screen with a high level of accuracy — similar to GPS for cars.”

Centerline landed a federal grant to test the system with HoloLens, the mixed-reality smart glasses made by Microsoft Corp.

The glasses will superimpose a 3-D outline of the patient’s vascular system onto a doctor’s field of view, “like having X-ray vision,” says Karl West, a mechanical engineer and director of medical-device solutions for the Clinic and scientific adviser to Centerline.