Head-Mounted Display Use in Surgery: A Systematic Review

Rafa Rahman, Matthew E. Wood, Long Qian, Carrie L. Price, Alex A. Johnson, Greg M. Osgood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose. We analyzed the literature to determine (1) the surgically relevant applications for which head-mounted display (HMD) use is reported; (2) the types of HMD most commonly reported; and (3) the surgical specialties in which HMD use is reported. Methods. The PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases were searched through August 27, 2017, for publications describing HMD use during surgically relevant applications. We identified 120 relevant English-language, non-opinion publications for inclusion. HMD types were categorized as “heads-up” (nontransparent HMD display and direct visualization of the real environment), “see-through” (visualization of the HMD display overlaid on the real environment), or “non–see-through” (visualization of only the nontransparent HMD display). Results. HMDs were used for image guidance and augmented reality (70 publications), data display (63 publications), communication (34 publications), and education/training (18 publications). See-through HMDs were described in 55 publications, heads-up HMDs in 41 publications, and non–see-through HMDs in 27 publications. Google Glass, a see-through HMD, was the most frequently used model, reported in 32 publications. The specialties with the highest frequency of published HMD use were urology (20 publications), neurosurgery (17 publications), and unspecified surgical specialty (20 publications). Conclusion. Image guidance and augmented reality were the most commonly reported applications for which HMDs were used. See-through HMDs were the most commonly reported type used in surgically relevant applications. Urology and neurosurgery were the specialties with greatest published HMD use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-100
Number of pages13
JournalSurgical Innovation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • augmented reality
  • head-mounted display
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Head-Mounted Display Use in Surgery: A Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this