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Google Glasses Being Used in Operating Room

"Google glass" is one of the most anticipated new tech products. Inventors describe it as a computer you wear on your face. And it could be a game-changer for surgeons and their patients.
"Google glass" is one of the most anticipated new tech products.  Inventors describe it as a computer you wear on your face.
And it could be a game-changer for surgeons and their patients.
 
47 year-old Paula Kopalka has played softball since she was 8. This June, she tore her ACL.
"I jumped up because the ball was thrown high and when I landed, my right leg was not there. It felt like my knee went back and forth and I was laying flat on my back."

Kopalka put her knee in the hands of surgeons at Ohio State University and Google glass, a wearable computer that's altering the way doctors practice medicine and teach it.

The camera embedded in Dr. Christopher Kaeding's glasses can live stream what he sees. Using voice commands, the doctor can take photos and review medical records.  It's one of the first times the hands-free technology has been used in the operating room.

"The Google glass is set up such that my main line of vision is where I'm really trying to focus - the image on the glass is not there," Dr. Kaeding says.  "It's just off to the upper right. It's kind of like the rearview mirror when you're driving."

Reporter:  "How long did it take for you to get comfortable with the glass?"
"It becomes intuitive and you become very comfortable with it. The more I used it it felt more natural. So I got used it pretty quickly," says Dr. Kaeding.

The device lets Dr. Kaeding consult with colleagues - in real time - on the best way to repair the torn ligament. The live video feed takes medical students from the classroom to the operating room. 

"How do you have 50 or 100 students in one OR?  You can't do that. Well, here's a way to have them feel a part of it - be connected, involved, interact and not have to physically be there and there's a lot of advantages to being able to do that."

As for the disadvantages, Dr. Kaeding says Google can improve video quality and connectivity to prevent the video stream from freezing. There's also concern about confidentiality.

Reporter:  "How does privacy play a role with this technology?"
"That'll be a societal issue," Dr. Kaeding believes.  "Cameras are smaller, and they're more easy to use, they're inexpensive and everyone has one.//on the patient side//as we've moved to a society where information is flowing more freely, patient privacy has been a high priority for all the medical centers."

Getting other doctors to sign on to glass also may be a challenge, he believes.  "A lot of people are resistant to change and they like to do things the same old way. They have a certain comfort level with that.  But I think the truly innovative surgeons, they will embrace this."

Paula Kopalka's knee operation was a success.  She returned to work just five days after the surgery. Google tells us the technology won't be on the market until next year. 


(Danielle Nottingham for CBS News)

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