First, the angle of a wearable camcorder is from the surgeon's viewpoint and has minimal distraction impact. Having an assistant video-recording over the surgeon's shoulder during a surgical case is not ideal on both these points.
Second, the surgeon has complete control over what is being recorded rather than depending on a 3rd party making that decision.
Third, when these wearable cameras are attached... it is incredibly secure. It will NOT fall off accidentally or otherwise. When an assistant is doing the recording... there is always the chance they may drop the camera into a sterile surgical field which would be a disaster. Here is a picture of me with the camcorder attached:
There is also the cost factor... These consumer wearable camcorders are around $275 or less on Amazon.com. Compare that with dedicated surgical headlight camera systems like the MicroLux® DLX by Integra which cost way more.
SO... how well did the ContourHD camcorder work? Not too good...
Unfortunately, the focal length of these camcorders are set to 2 feet to infinity resulting in blurry videos when shooting at closer distances, like dissecting out a parotid tumor (believe me... I tried). These wearable camcorders also are not focus-adjustable.
Hopefully, a manufacturer will address this key shortcoming and make one with either an adjustable focus OR enable the user to swap out the lens set to different focal lengths OR designing an adapter over the built-in lens that would adjust the focal length. Here is a concept of what I have in mind:
It would be pretty cool to record surgical cases with as much "pop" and detail as this snowboarding video (not mine).
Wearable camcorders I am monitoring (hoping) for such innovation that is usable in the operating room theater include ContourHD and GoPro Camera.
There are other wearable camcorders such as the Looxcie which is not as well-suited for recording surgical fields. The main problem with such "social" camcorders like the Looxcie is that it can only record (the previous) 30 second video snippets and is not in HD quality. Read more about Looxcie here.