Wyoming doctor is using Augmented Reality to aid in Carpal Tunnel procedures

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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) When you think of innovation, you probably don't think of Wyoming. But physicians right here at the Wyoming Medical Center are making new advances in medical and procedure technology.

The procedure Dr. Joseph McGinley preformed today isn't new.

In fact, it was first performed all the way back in 1997, more than 20 years ago.

But what made this procedure different is the technology that was utilized in the process, most notably augmented reality.

"So what that allows me to do, when I'm doing this procedure and watching this critical anatomy i can see my image right over the anatomy as i'm doing the procedure. Traditionally, you have a monitor somewhere else in the room and you'd actually have to look away while you're working on the patient in a very critical area, that's the standard."

This augmented reality technology was invented right here in the cowboy state by Dr. McGinley and the university of Wyoming's college of engineering, and right now he is the only one in the world using it and the only one in the state using wireless ultrasound and Sonex Health SX-one Microknife, a new medical tool designed to make micro-invasive carpal tunnel procedures easier not only for the physician, but for the patients as well.

"It just makes sense. It's better for the patients, it's safer, it's faster, it's also more cost effective. For this procedure as you saw no general anesthesia. The patent was watching his own procedure the entire time. All we used was local anesthesia, which again is a big step forward for something like this."

And this big step brings faster healing time for the patient, going from a few weeks to a few days and no physical therapy, something that was a necessity for traditional surgeries.

Dr. McGinley says that he see's the augmented reality aided procedure becoming an industry standard for carpal tunnel treatment in the future.

"Yeah, I can't imagine ten years from now this is not the standard of the care I think. It's really exciting to be able to have innovations like this right here in Wyoming, some of which were developed by the university."