Help Lightning

Remote expertise through the power of merged reality

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

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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.

Help Lightning

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.

Help Lightning Software

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.

Help Lightning
Help Lightning

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

Join InterSurgeon today and use Help Lightning for free

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Zulma Tovar-Spinoza MD

Zulma Tovar-Spinoza MD


SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse , United States of America


Location information

Hospital address

SUNY Upstate Medical University 750 E Adams St Syracuse NY 13210 United States of America

Hospital type


Hospital description

Academic (Residency Program)



Born in Bogota, Colombia and raised in San Cristobal, Venezuela.  She was educated at the Universidad de los Andes Medical School, where she graduated cum laude. Dr. Tovar-Spinoza completed an internship in general surgery, trauma, and neurosurgery at Hospital IVSS Patrocinio Penuela Ruiz in San Cristobal, Venezuela before entering the Rabin Medical Center Neurosurgery Training Program in Petach Tikva (University of Tel Aviv), Israel in 1997 under the supervision of Prof. Zvi Harry Rappaport. She was the first female resident accepted to this program.
Upon conclusion of her neurosurgical residency and her board certification by the Israeli Society of Neurological Surgery in 2005, Dr. Tovar-Spinoza completed fellowships in pediatric neurosurgery and pediatric epilepsy and epilepsy surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada under the supervision of Professors James Rutka, James Drake, and Carter Snead.
She assumed her appointment as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery in the Department of Neurosurgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse in 2009. In 2015 she was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics. 
Dr. Tovar-Spinoza’s research and clinical interests relate to the surgery of pediatric brain tumors and epilepsy, hydrocephalus, endoscopic treatment of hydrocephalus and brain tumors, minimally invasive surgery, spina bifida, congenital and developmental malformations of the nervous system, Chiari malformation, craniofacial surgery, and pediatric brain trauma. Her main clinical current interests is the use of laser ablation in the surgical treatment of brain tumors and epilepsy in children . Dr. Tovar-Spinoza has authored several chapters and peer reviewed publications and is a frequently invited speaker on national and international conferences and international neurosurgical training courses for peers and the Listserv International Neurosurgery Resident Training Course.
She is a senior member of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgery (ASPN), the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Women in Neurosurgery, Women in Medicine, American Epilepsy Society (AES), American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons, AANS/Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care. She has long-standing contributions with the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN)   where she is the Chair of Liaison Committee, member of the scientific committee.  Dr. Tovar-Spinoza speaks Spanish, English, and Hebrew.

Member information


Zulma Tovar-Spinoza

Member type

Clinical department with teaching programme




  • Trained paediatric neurosurgeon

Languages spoken

  • English
  • Spanish

Professional affiliations / memberships

  • AANS
  • ISPN
  • ASPN
  • CNS
  • EANS
  • WFNS

Social profiles

Conditions treated

  • Hydrocephalus
  • Spinal dysraphism
  • Trauma
  • Tumor
  • Vascular
  • Craniofacial
  • Spine
  • Epilepsy
  • Spasticity

Equipment used

  • Drill
  • Microinstruments
  • Microscope
  • Neuroendoscope Rigid
  • Frameless navigation
  • Spinal instrumentation
  • MRI
  • Angiography
  • CT
  • ECOG