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

Damon Cooney

Damon Cooney

Plastic, Reconstructive & Burns Surgeon

Johns Hopkins Hospital, baltimore, United States of America


Location information

Hospital address

Johns Hopkins Hospital 601 N Caroline baltimore baltimore MD 21287 United States of America

Hospital type


Hospital description

Third-Level Hospital (Referral)

This is a teaching hospital


I am a plastic and reconstructive surgeon based at the Johns Hopkins University. My specialty is microsurgery and I engage in all forms of reconstruction for traumatic, oncologic, and congenital defects. I have an active role in research in the area of reconstructive transplantation and microsurgical education research. I am the associate program director for the plastic surgery residency and the vice chair of clinical operations for the Department of plastic surgery.

Member information


Damon Cooney

Member type

Clinical department with teaching programme


Plastic, Reconstructive & Burns Surgeon


  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Breast
  • Head and neck
  • Lower limb
  • Upper limb
  • Maxillofacial
  • Microsurgery

Languages spoken

  • English

Professional affiliations / memberships

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
  • American Society of Reconstructive  Microsurgery (ASRM)

Conditions treated

  • Facial fractures
  • Rhinoplasty and Nasal Reconstruction
  • Head and Neck Reconstruction (neoplasia and traumatic)
  • Excision of Soft tissue Tumors and Skin neoplasia
  • Breast Reconstruction
  • Soft tissue Reconstruction (neoplasia and trauma)
  • Lower extremity Flap reconstruction and salvage
  • Abdominal Reconstruction
  • Liposuction/Fat grafting
  • Microsurgery for free tissue transfer
  • Release of chronic Burn contractures and reconstruction
  • Hand reconstruction (soft tissue and bone)
  • Peripheral nerve decompression (carpal and cubital tunnel)

Equipment used

  • Microscope and micro instruments
  • Facial fracture tray 
  • Hall Drill /K wire driver
  • Hand Fracture tray
  • General Hand Tray
  • Liposuction and fat grafting instruments
  • Dermatome and mesher
  • Craniofacial Tray (Dingman retractor)
  • Headlight
Last updated: