Date Published:2013 Mar
Mixed reality environments for medical applications have been explored and developed over the past three decades in an effort to enhance the clinician's view of anatomy and facilitate the performance of minimally invasive procedures. These environments must faithfully represent the real surgical field and require seamless integration of pre- and intra-operative imaging, surgical instrument tracking, and display technology into a common framework centered around and registered to the patient. However, in spite of their reported benefits, few mixed reality environments have been successfully translated into clinical use. Several challenges that contribute to the difficulty in integrating such environments into clinical practice are presented here and discussed in terms of both technical and clinical limitations. This article should raise awareness among both developers and end-users toward facilitating a greater application of such environments in the surgical practice of the future.