On the heels of CES, there’s been a lot of talk about technology that helps us see the world and create stunning visual realities. Curved TV screens, higher resolution pictures, 3D and even Google Glass are all part of the new visual reality that is changing our lives. But beyond our living rooms, 3D can also play an important role in medicine, particularly in surgical procedures.

Today, 3D is being used in laparoscopic surgery, a technique in which an operation in the abdomen or pelvis is performed through small incisions with the aid of a camera, as close in clarity and depth perception as surgical teams can get without opening the patient. Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic approaches offer reduced pain and hemorrhaging, as well as shorter recovery times and better cosmetic results.

Typically, surgeons lose some of the natural depth perception and precision when migrating from open surgery to traditional laparoscopic surgery under 2D visualization. Now Olympus Medical Systems Group has developed the world’s only 3D articulating laparoscope, the ENDOEYE FLEX 3D Videoscope, which is used to help restore the surgeon’s natural 3D vision and depth perception. The device utilizes two, distally-mounted camera chips inside the scope along with the light-guide cable to deliver an all-in-one lightweight device, which is designed to deliver superior 3D imaging performance.

In operating rooms like Memorial Hospital Pembroke in South Florida, the surgical team in 3D glasses looks as ready to pick up boxes of popcorn as their surgical instruments. But with ENDOEYE FLEX 3D, the entire experience takes endoscopic surgery to the next level. Simply put, it puts the surgeon into an visual environment that closely matches the reality of our natural 3D vision. And in this case, the advantages are certainly in the eye of the beholder…

“3-D laparoscopy gives surgeons at our hospital the ability to utilize depth of field with precision for dissection, while providing images that are clearer than what we have seen before with previous technologies. More importantly, it allows us to have a view of a patient’s anatomy as if we were doing an open operation, even though we are working with laparoscopic tools outside of the patient’s body. It is truly one of the biggest advancements in laparoscopic surgery since the advent of laparoscope itself.”

– Brett Cohen, M.D., FACS. Medical Director of Memorial Healthcare System for Advance Laparoscopic and Bariatric Surgical Program

With a 3D view available for the entire operating theater, doctors, specialists and nurses can pursue immediate consultation as a team to detect and treat a range of diseases. The improved depth perception and angulation of the scope’s tip – up to 100 degrees – potentially provide the ability to peer around anatomical structures as well as perform more precise grasping, dissection and suturing. It can potentially add a dimension of skill and technique that could improve the procedure and the outcome.

3D technology started as a bit of novelty, but today it’s emerging as an important tool in a wide variety of uses. From gaming to medicine, 3D visualization is an exciting area where technology is building a new reality that can help clinicians in subtle and critical aspects of surgery. We were born to see in three dimensions, and with the help of technology like the ENDOEYE FLEX 3D Videoscope, surgeons can now experience this fundamental perspective while maintaining the important less-invasive aspects of laparoscopic surgery. It truly is a view of the future!