Holographics in Medical Context

There are various reasons which makes the usage of holographic technique popular in the field of medicine. One of the main reason is that medical holography allows three-dimensional imaging of internal body structures for the diagnosis and surgical planning. Holographic three-dimensional (3D) displays provide realistic images without the need for special eyewear, which makes them valuable tools for applications that require situational awareness, such as ‘medical, industrial and military imaging’ (Tay et al. 2008).

A major growth area for the use of holographic research is in the field of medical care (Tay et al. 2008). It is very likely that sooner or later, holographic technology will be used for medical diagnosis, instruction, healing and investigation. Holography has already been used in various fields of medicine. Holographic techniques have been widely applied with success for the study of different parts of human body including cornea, tympanic membrane, basilar membrane, tooth mobility, cochlea, temporal bone, chest, skull, bones etc (Tay et al. 2008).

Holographic interferometry to test and design many things like ‘tires, engines to prosthetic limbs and artificial bones and joints’ (India Mart Sourcing Guide 2011). Holographic is currently used for scientific visualization such as ‘pathology, paleontology, density, biomedicine, medicine, orthopedics or archeology'(India Mart Sourcing Guide 2011).

Facial surgery and forensic science are also benefiting from a portable holography system that can capture the shape and texture of faces in an instant. Following chemical development, the hologram is digitized to create a three dimensional computer model that is an exact replica of the patient’s face. The model is then used to aid surgical planning or forensic science investigations (Holophile Inc 2011).

Surgeons in particular values holography as “A surgeon is more a sculptor than a painter,” says William Bergman, Associate Chief of Neurosurgery and Director of Neurosurgical Research at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (Peach 1997). “We don`t deal with flat pictures. We`ve come to appreciate two-dimensional anatomy from x-rays, but it is more realistic to work with life-like images” (Peach 1997).

Now, surgeons can “see” inside the body with life-size, 3-D images projected into space, a non-conventional holographic technology based on dispersion compensation (Peach 1997). For example, A cranioplastic surgeon can now work before a holographic image of a patient`s skull, carefully molds clay to conform exactly to the image of the skull. As soon as the front is finished, the image is flipped 180° about its x-axis for anatomical review from the reverse orientation. The finished product (a plastic bone) will be inserted into the patient`s head to replace a damaged portion of the skull (Peach 1997). The holographic image is a Voxgram, made with a digital holography system from Voxel (Peach 1997).

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