Remote expertise through the power of merged reality

Access to this ground-breaking technology is included at no cost with your InterSurgeon clinician membership. Help Lightning allows experienced surgeons to guide and interactively assist others during operations in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Add Help Lightning to your account

What are the benefits of Help Lightning for surgeons?

In light of the pandemic, and for the foreseeable future, the conventional ways of establishing collaborative partnerships through physical visits are not going to be possible. However, because Help Lightning allows surgeons to collaborate remotely, partnerships can still develop – and more easily than ever before.

Help Lightning can be used as a tool for education, mentorship and instruction – as well as for intraoperative case management. It allows both surgical planning and real-time intraoperative advice.

How does it work?

Watch this video to learn how Help Lightning works. This shows use cases in other industries – it’s every bit as useful with surgical applications and can also be used hands-free. All you need to use Help Lightning is your smartphone and an internet connection, though it can also be used with tablets, desktop computers and smart surgical glasses. 

Download a beginner's guide to Help Lightning here: Help Lightning Basic Training

Virtual help in real-time

Help Lightning uses Merged Reality to blend two real-time video streams – e.g. that of a remote surgical expert and another surgeon that needs help – into a collaborative environment. This Merged Reality allows the expert to virtually reach out and direct real surgical procedures or training.

Use your existing devices

Help Lightning runs on your existing mobile devices (iOS, Android) or a web-browser on laptop and desktop computers.

Surgeons can now provide remote assistance as though they’re working side-by-side. They can telestrate, freeze images, use hand gestures, and even add real objects into the merged reality environment.

Be there instantly

Help Lightning is easy, fast and intuitive.

Once you’re in a merged reality call with a colleague or customer, simply tap the mode to change how you interact. Choose whether you’re giving or receiving help, and start collaborating in seconds. Help Lightning’s unique Merged Reality can add missing visual cues, gestures, and non-verbal communication methods to any session.

Using Help Lightning with smart surgical glasses

Take Help Lightning to the next level by pairing it with smart glasses. This innovation allows the wearer to benefit from the assistance of AI or a third-party while performing surgery. When used in conjunction with Help Lightning, smart glasses mean that another surgeon can see exactly what you are seeing and what you’re doing – and also have their hands superimposed over your field of view.

There are a number of models available from different manufacturers including Vuzix, Zebra, and RealWear.

The Advantage of Remote Expertise

Studies show that adding gestures and nonverbal clues substantially improves the speed of understanding. Furthermore, nonverbal cues are 430% more effective than verbal cues and nonverbal cues make Help Lightning’s combination of verbal and nonverbal communication up to 10 times more effective.

Sources: Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, British Journal of Clinical Psychology

Professor Graham Fieggen

Professor Graham Fieggen


Groote Schuur hospital, Cape Town, South Africa


Location information

Hospital address

Groote Schuur hospital H53 Old Main Building Observatory Groote Schuur Hospital Cape Town Western Cape 7925 South Africa

Hospital type


Hospital description



The University of Cape Town is a leading African university, and one of only 3 institutions in the Developing World ranked in the Top 100 for Medicine (THE 2017). Our Division of Neurosurgery is committed to training neurosurgeons who will practise either in South Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa, and acceptance is competitive as we limit numbers in order to ensure adequate clinical exposure. Specialist training usually takes 5 years in our program - at any one time we typically have 5 registrars from other African countries in training. Applicants need to have completed their Internship and have evidence of sufficient experience in surgery to embark on a career in neurosurgery. After initial screening, prospective trainees are invited to visit our department to evaluate our training program first hand and undergo an interview.  

Successful applicants require a licence from the HPCSA, must demonstrate that they have sufficient funding to support themselves for at least 5 years in Cape Town, and register for the degree MMed(Neurosurgery) at the University of Cape Town as well as enter the Fellowship examination of the College of Neurosurgeons of South Africa, FCNeurosurg(SA). Following completion of training, there are opportunities for fellowship training in paediatric neurosurgery, neurointervention and skull base surgery, neuroendoscopy and pituitary surgery, spine and neurocritical care. Countries in which our alumni practise include Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria.

Please contact the Neurosurgery Program Director Dr Sally Rothemeyer for more information 

Professor Graham Fieggen, Mauerberger Professor of Neurosurgery and Head of Division, University of Cape Town.

Member information


Graham Fieggen

Member type

Individual independent practitioner




  • Neurosurgeon with paediatric interest

Languages spoken

  • English

Professional affiliations / memberships

  • ISPN
  • AANS

Social profiles