The long hours of intensive work looking through an operating microscope have always been accepted as the price paid for working in this surgical subspecialty. Looking through microscope eyepieces, while performing a complex microsurgical reconstruction for hours sitting or standing relatively motionless often in uncomfortable positions, is not uncommon. It is not unreasonable to see how years of performing surgery under these strenuous physically demanding conditions could lead microsurgeons to prematurely retire from active practice, and in doing so, deprive the field of what could be their most fruitful years. The use of video technology in many surgical specialties is now considered routine. As an alternative to the operating microscope, advances in video technology can now permit the surgeon to view a microsurgical field on a video monitor in three dimensions as shown in Fig. 2.7 without the necessity of physically looking through the microscope eyepieces. The conventional microscope magnifies the operative field and brings it mechanically and stereoscopically into the surgeon's view.
The three-dimensional display of the surgical view also helps the novice surgeons and junior residents to understand the surgical procedures better. The recording of the three dimensional view and displaying it later can be used as an explanation tool for larger audience. “The 3D medium has been shown to increase test scores by 35 percent over 2D for learning human anatomy, according to recent studies by Texas Instruments, reinforcing the market for tools with the ability to work with stereoscopic video.”