Chicago Surgeon to Wear Google Glass to Operating Room

Dr. Anil Shah will work on a patient who smashed her nose in October while visiting an amusement park

By BJ Lutz and Nesita Kwan
|  Thursday, Dec 26, 2013  |  Updated 5:52 PM EDT
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University of Chicago Dr. Anil Shah is believed to have performed the first operation in the city using Google glasses, which allowed him to view both his patient, and x-rays and charts at the same time. Nesita Kwan reports.

University of Chicago Dr. Anil Shah is believed to have performed the first operation in the city using Google glasses, which allowed him to view both his patient, and x-rays and charts at the same time. Nesita Kwan reports.

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A University of Chicago plastic surgeon on Thursday took Google Glass -- the tech giant's wearable computer -- into the operating room.

Dr. Anil Shah wore the device while working on a patient who smashed her nose in October while visiting an amusement park.

"This is a perfect case to highlight the merits of Google Glass since her nose has both obvious external as well as internal nasal deviation," said Shah, one of hundreds of people in various industries invited by Google to test the device.

Shah predicts the small devices, which feature a screen that sits just in front of a user's right eye, will revolutionize surgery. Google Glass allows him to look at an X-Ray or MRI without taking his eye off the patient, Shah says. It also allows a doctor to communicate with a patient's family or friends during a procedure, and in the case of Thursday's operation, record what the patient's nose looked like before putting the cast on.

"That means she won’t have to wait in suspense while she’s in a cast wondering how she looks," said Shah. "I think it helps the surgeon concentrate more on the case and more on what's relevant, and just get rid of the distractions on the outside."

The procedure wasn't just the first Google Glass operation in Chicago. University officials say it will also be the first rhinoplasty using the device done anywhere in the world. The young mother says she’s awe-struck.

"This is like science fiction," she said, asking that her identity be kept private.

Other doctors have employed Google Glass in recent procedures, including an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Alabama-Birmingham who was able to transmit live video during a shoulder replacement operation to a colleague more than 100 miles away. In August, a surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center transmitted live video to an audience during an ACL surgery.
And a surgeon at the University of California San Francisco has used Google Glass to call up CT and X-Ray images during procedures.

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