MINNESOTA (Web Desk) – Google’s toy-like goggles, costing only $20, gave cardiac surgeons the perspective to repair a four month old baby’s heart and lung.
The baby Teegan Lexcen was born with half a heart and one lung and faced a dire prognosis, Daily News reported.
Doctors in Minnesota told the family they could not operate her. Then the family contacted Redmond Burke, M.D, a surgeon in Miami hospital known for innovative techniques.
“Teegan had the worst set of defects you can imagine,” Burke said. “I’ve been doing surgery for 30 years. This is the first time I’ve seen a case like hers.”
Her case was rare. But so was her will to live.
“Teegan was tough,” said Burke. “She didn’t slip away. She had the will to live. When you see a kid make it despite lethal defects you start saying, ‘This kid’s a survivor.”
The key to a successful surgical outcome, said Burke, 57, was all about imaging and a crystal clear idea of what to expect before he picked up a scalpel.
Burke asked colleague Juan Carlos Muniz, M.D., to make a 3-D model of Teegan’s heart using computer scans of the baby’s heart and lung.
The hospital’s 3-D printer was down — and the clock was ticking.
Using a 3-D publishing platform called Sketchfab, Muniz downloaded images of Teegan’s heart and lung onto his Smartphone.
They were then able to look at 3D images using Google Cardboard, which look like toy goggles.
But when you insert a Smartphone and use the right app you can see images in 3-D virtual reality that come with the clarity and definition needed for delicate surgery.
“It was the first time I’ve ever touched Google Cardboard,” said Burke, adding that putting it together with CT and MRI images and Sketchfab “gave a whole new perspective to this baby’s heart.
“It gave me autonomy and flexibility,” he added. “You can use it anywhere.” The night before the surgery, Burke, who grew up in Silicon Valley, prepped by gazing through the goggles one last time while lying on his couch at home.
You don’t have to be a physician to use Google Cardboard. The gadget sells for about $20 and the app is free.