Professor Karl Oldhafer, chief physician of general and visceral surgery at the Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek, performs liver surgery, one of the first surgeries of its kind in Germany with the support of an iPad to access and visualize planning data, August 15, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Professor Karl Oldhafer, chief physician of general and visceral surgery at the Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek, performs liver surgery, one of the first surgeries of its kind in Germany with the support of an iPad to access and visualize planning data, August 15, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

A team of German doctors have performed liver surgery with the aid of a tablet computer in what has been described as one of the first surgeries of its kind.

Professor Karl Oldhafer, chief physician of general and visceral surgery at Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek, and his colleagues removed two tumours from a patient's liver using an iPad in a three-hour-long surgery that took place last week, Reuters reported.

"I couldn't imagine how an iPad would be helpful during an operation to remove two tumors from a liver," photographer Fabian Bimmer, who filmed the surgery, blogged.

The unique methodology, a first of its kind in Germany helps surgeons locate critical structures such as tumours and vessels in organs.

"When he could see the liver he used the iPad to localize the two tumors in the liver. It was very exciting as it was one of the first operations to be carried out in this way within Germany," Bimmer wrote, describing Oldhafer's moves in the operation theatre.

For the surgery, the liver was filmed on the iPad and overlaid during the operation with virtual 3D models that were reconstructed from the real organ, explained Bianka Hofmann from Fraunhofer MEWIS institute in Bremen that developed the procedure.

Here's how the German doctors removed two tumours from liver with the help of an iPad.

Professor Karl Oldhafer at the Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek, Germany, makes sure that the iPad is kept in a sterile cover like every other instrument used in the surgery. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Professor Karl Oldhafer at the Asklepios Hospital Hamburg-Barmbek, Germany, makes sure that the iPad is kept in a sterile cover like every other instrument used in the surgery. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
The tablet computer helps doctors to access and visualize planning data during liver surgery, one of the first liver surgeries of its kind in Germany. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
The tablet computer helps doctors to access and visualize planning data during liver surgery, one of the first liver surgeries of its kind in Germany. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Professor Karl Oldhafer poses during liver iPad-aided surgery in Germany. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Professor Karl Oldhafer poses during liver iPad-aided surgery in Germany. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Doctors perform liver iPad-aided liver surgery in Germany. The procedure is expected to improve the quality of transferring pre-operational resection plans into actual surgery. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
Doctors perform liver iPad-aided liver surgery in Germany. The procedure is expected to improve the quality of transferring pre-operational resection plans into actual surgery. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
A tumor inside a piece of a liver which was removed during surgery, one of the first surgeries of its kind in Germany with the support of a tablet computer. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)
A tumor inside a piece of a liver which was removed during surgery, one of the first surgeries of its kind in Germany with the support of a tablet computer. (Photo: REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer)

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