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An AI-powered scientific hub for the global surgical community

Heather Masson-Forsythe, Ph.D.
January 16, 2024
5 min read

Surgeons are well-positioned to help integrate artificial intelligence (AI) tools and research into modern and future practice, and AI is already beginning to be harnessed for surgical procedures, medical education, and various stages of patient care. AI applied to surgical videos could be transformative: identifying hidden patterns, automating time-consuming review, and creating new opportunities for quantifiable analysis. Accurate and effective AI models rely on large and well-curated datasets, and with surgical procedures generating millions of hours of video data every year, the new opportunities to harness AI for enhanced surgical research and patient care are abundant. SDSC’s Surgical Video Platform is not letting this valuable information go to waste by powering the digital evolution of surgery, shepherding the art into a new era of explainable science and standardized practice.

As AI and computer vision continue to progress alongside surgical practices, it is essential that datasets continue to be collected, organized, analyzed, and translated into clear and useful information that can be sustained and built upon by the global surgical community. Through these collective and efficient efforts, this analysis will help usher in enhanced preoperative planning through improved diagnosis and optimized surgical plans. Continued research into AI-enhanced surgery is essential to expand and refine real-time information, precise navigation, and augmented reality overlays to inform patient care management plans and to ultimately improve surgical outcomes. Even within the same procedure type, operation planning and outcome optics can vary as widely as the individuals receiving treatment, making it essential that surgeons have access to diverse and clear examples to optimize preparation. For new and unique cases, AI-powered analysis may be particularly useful for identifying the correct course of action by cutting through the noise and finding the hidden patterns in aggregated global datasets.

This substantial amount of generated yet unharnessed surgical media also holds incredible educational value and opportunity, particularly for aspiring surgeons, and for surgeons practicing in underserved regions. The Surgical Video Platform serves as a harmonizing system to remove the burden of storage and organization from the surgeons themselves, while connecting them with their larger community. Applying cutting-edge computer vision to the community’s surgical videos additionally offers surgeons the future opportunity to summarize videos through automated identification of key procedure stages and anatomy from various points of view. Optimized models are creating a future in which surgeons can quantify and draw connections between pre-, and post-op data, procedure analytics, and patient outcomes. The multi-tenant yet customizable global platform enables surgeon users to share and promote their proven methods, backed up by AI supported analysis.

Going forward, SDSC’s Surgical Video Platform is working to empower surgeons through continued development of AI-driven metrics for analysis, and to democratize access to information within its community of surgeons, making surgery safer and more accessible worldwide.

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