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AI in the operating theater: Technology transforms cosmetic surgery in Korea

In South Korea, 365mc hospital group has hooked up surgical instruments with motion sensors that are connected to Artificial Intelligence (AI). This has not only transformed how its surgeons operate, it has changed its business model as well. The group expects to conduct more than 100,000 operations in the next two years, and increase its revenues by over 40%, thanks to the world’s first AI-assisted liposuction system. Other types of surgery, like endoscopy and colonoscopy, are also potential beneficiaries of such technology.  

Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that removes fat from the human body. And, it has long relied on a surgeon’s intuition and experience at moving the cannula wand. Nam-Chul Kim, CEO, 365mc, shares:

“You could say that our surgeons are like conductors – but not with an orchestra, with a human body, making the procedure as flowing, safe and precise as possible.”

So, what if technology could complement the expertise of a doctor by avoiding human error and improving success rates and customer satisfaction?

Surgeons like Sun Ho Lee have long relied on intuition and experience to conduct liposuction surgeries. With technology, the guesswork can now be obliterated for precise movements.

Starting on the operating table, 365mc’s Motion capture and Artificial Intelligence assisted Liposuction (M.A.I.L) system learns from billions of movements to identify the best ones for the most successful surgery, through AI. Conversely, when a risky movement is initiated, the M.A.I.L system sends visual and haptic (touch-based) alerts to the surgeon’s hand gripping the wand so micro adjustments can be made in real time.

AI knows when a wrong movement is made and sends alerts to surgeons for real-time adjustments and successful surgeries.

Cannula movements on nine different axes are captured to further enrich the machine learning of movements for the next operation and so on. The more surgery movements captured, the more successful and intelligent the system’s algorithm becomes. Kim adds:

“Jointly developed with Microsoft, our M.A.I.L system has transformed safety rates and boosted customer confidence. In fact, we’ve collected 2 billion micro movements so far, and using insights from the data, we can carry out more than 100,000 successful surgeries in the next two years.”

With AI, surgeons can carry out more than 100,000 successful surgeries in the next two years.

But this is only the beginning of 365mc’s story. Kim has far-reaching ambitions to incorporate Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies;

“Once implementation of VR and AR is completed, surgeons can practice procedures without risk just like how airline pilots are trained.”

 READ: How Asia Pacific is transforming digitally

The demand for cosmetic surgeries is not only increasing in Korea but across the world, signaling the need for safer procedures. With technology, this is possible.

As a leader in the industry, Kim believes 365mc has a responsibility to move into new markets and help others adopt emerging medical technologies. Kim continues:

“My vision is to export our M.A.I.L system to the Middle East, South America, Europe and North America where demand is growing. Through doing so, we hope more medical institutions around the world will operate safer liposuction surgeries by planning and predicting results more accurately.”

Developments in medical technology development being undertaken by 365mc are promising to lead to more innovations. Other types of surgery in the medical arena present themselves as being potential beneficiaries of such technology like endoscopy and colonoscopy.

All of this would not be possible without the stable foundation of Azure cloud and its app development functionalities. 365mc built upon these stepping stones to apply exciting new AI technologies that are transforming their medical, business and strategic visions. Kim concludes;

“Given the stability and the predictability of liposuction results, made possible thanks to Microsoft AI, we expect our revenue to increase by more than forty percent in the long run.”