Surgeons wear Google Glass for first time in operations

Surgeons at Torbay hospital in Devon used Google Glass in the operating theatre. Credit: PA

Surgeons have become the first in the UK to use Google Glass in the operating theatre, according to Torbay Hospital in Devon.

The voice-activated glasses, which feature a tiny display above the wearer's eyes, can record video and live-stream operations via the internet as well as offer access to maps and email hands-free.

Orthopaedic surgeon David Isaac is believed to have become the first surgeon in the UK to use Google Glass during a live operation.

Surgeons across the hospital, including in a variety of orthopaedic procedures and ear, nose and throat operations, have used Google Glass since.

Torbay Hospital says the technology has "huge potential" for medical education, with students in a lecture theatre able to see and hear from the surgeon's viewpoint.

"We are just about to start live-streaming to junior doctors and medical students within the Trust," Mr Isaac said.

David Issac wearing Google Glass at Torbay hospital in Devon. Credit: South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

"Two of the key issues we have had to address whilst using Google Glass in the operating theatre are patient confidentiality and privacy," he added.

The hospital said they are investigating ways to stream and store video to a secure network so it can only be accessed by those with relevant consent.

Dr George Brighton, core surgical trainee and app inventor at the hospital, managed to acquire a set of Google Glass last November, before their official launch in the UK.

"What's exciting for medical education is that it allows surgeons to record and share their direct view of the surgical field. This gives huge potential for mentoring and conferencing.

Before using Google Glass in theatre, surgeons talk to their patients about the project and how footage will be used. They must give their signed consent before any filming.

Read: Google publishes guidelines for Google Glass users