Virtual reality technology saves a baby's life

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Dr. Burke's work demonstrates the potentially significant role that virtual reality will play in the future of medical procedures.

There isn't as much hype about the 20-dollar Google Cardboard as there was about the Google Glass and competitor Apple's iWatch. After all, it is literally just a cardboard with lenses and a space to insert a smartphone.

But CNN reports that the simple device and a virtual reality app has already saved a baby's life.

Baby Teegan Lexcen was born with only one lung and half a heart. It was the first time for doctors to encounter her condition so they just told her parents to keep her as comfortable as possible and wait for the inevitable.

It would be impossible for her heart to support her. There was nothing they could do.

Even better than having a 3D printed model of the heart

When she was 2 months old, Teegan's aunt found an article about innovative pediatric surgeons.

The parents reached out to Dr. Redmond Burke of Nicklaus Children's Hospital at Miami. Unfortunately, their 3D printer was broken - forcing him to find another way to help the Lexcen family.

Together with his team, Dr. Burke used the Sketchfab app to convert the 2D MRI scans of Teegan's lung and heart into 3D images that they could navigate through Google Cardboard.

It was even better than having a 3D printed model of the heart. It allowed the doctor to precisely plan where to do the incision because it included information about the organ's exact location.

Ask for a second opinion

The 7-hour open-heart surgery was a success.

A month after the procedure, Teegan is breathing on her own and is expected to be discharged over the next two weeks. Clearly, when doctors say that there is nothing they can do today, it won't hurt to ask for a second opinion tomorrow.

Dr. Burke's work demonstrates the potentially significant role that virtual reality will play in the future of medical procedures.

We know that it can help many other patients and look forward to hearing about more successful procedures that utilize this technology.

READ: One-year-old’s incurable cancer cured by miracle ‘designer cells’

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