Surgeons used holographic ‘x-ray vision’ glasses to perform a total hip replacement at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus, a first for the hospital and one of the first in the country to use new augmented reality (AR) guidance technology for hip arthroplasty. 

The system projects 3D holograms onto special headgear that lets physicians “see into” the patient’s body during a procedure. Surgical instruments, anatomy and joint implants inside the patient are visible to the surgeon in real time.

“Augmented reality is a powerful tool for use in joint replacement surgery. It is our hope that developments like this will lead to further improvement in patients’ mobility,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jimmy Chow, who led the team performing the first augmented reality procedure at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus. 

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Abrazo Scottsdale Campus CEO Naman Mahajan acknowledged the hospital’s growth of complex surgical capabilities. “Abrazo has invested in our hospital and supported innovations in patient care. This is another step forward and we are excited about the possibilities augmented reality may bring for our patients,” he said. 

“This is the stuff of science fiction. Surgeons have always had to limit how minimally invasive a surgery is, based on how much they can see. With AR, the surgeon can see everything without the incision.  This technology gives us the potential to make surgery even less invasive, while improving the precision of the work,” added Dr. Chow, who is medical director of orthopedics at Abrazo Scottsdale Campus and National Medical Director, Orthopedic Service Line for Tenet Health, Abrazo’s parent organization.

During the minimally invasive surgery, surgeons operate through small incisions. The holograms are useful in providing a wider, three-dimensional surgical field of vision. It helps the surgeon align and place the acetabular component (hip socket) in the proper orientation according to an individual’s anatomy. 

“The surgery went great! This technology is really advanced and very different from existing operating room technology,” said Dr. Chow. The hip replacement was performed on a 65-year-old male patient.

Dr. Chow explained the new system has the potential to transform the way surgery is performed. 

“The company behind this system, HipInsight, has partnered with Microsoft to create this groundbreaking technology. Using Microsoft’s Hololens 2, the HipInsight augmented reality guided system is the first FDA-cleared surgical platform for joint replacement to be contained entirely within a head-mounted device,” noted Dr. Chow.

The augmented reality system received FDA 510(k) clearance in January 2021.

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus, 3929 E. Bell Rd., is a 120-bed full service hospital with one of the most diverse surgical robotics programs in the state. In addition to complex orthopedic and spine procedures, along with general surgery, the hospital includes a 24/7 emergency department, intensive care and other services for providing care for residents of the Northeast Valley and beyond. For more information on Abrazo Scottsdale Campus, visit