Augmented Reality Technology Using Microsoft HoloLens in Anatomic Pathology

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018 May;142(5):638-644. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2017-0189-OA. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Context Augmented reality (AR) devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens have not been well used in the medical field. Objective To test the HoloLens for clinical and nonclinical applications in pathology. Design A Microsoft HoloLens was tested for virtual annotation during autopsy, viewing 3D gross and microscopic pathology specimens, navigating whole slide images, telepathology, as well as real-time pathology-radiology correlation. Results Pathology residents performing an autopsy wearing the HoloLens were remotely instructed with real-time diagrams, annotations, and voice instruction. 3D-scanned gross pathology specimens could be viewed as holograms and easily manipulated. Telepathology was supported during gross examination and at the time of intraoperative consultation, allowing users to remotely access a pathologist for guidance and to virtually annotate areas of interest on specimens in real-time. The HoloLens permitted radiographs to be coregistered on gross specimens and thereby enhanced locating important pathologic findings. The HoloLens also allowed easy viewing and navigation of whole slide images, using an AR workstation, including multiple coregistered tissue sections facilitating volumetric pathology evaluation. Conclusions The HoloLens is a novel AR tool with multiple clinical and nonclinical applications in pathology. The device was comfortable to wear, easy to use, provided sufficient computing power, and supported high-resolution imaging. It was useful for autopsy, gross and microscopic examination, and ideally suited for digital pathology. Unique applications include remote supervision and annotation, 3D image viewing and manipulation, telepathology in a mixed-reality environment, and real-time pathology-radiology correlation.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Pathology / instrumentation*
  • Virtual Reality*