Surgeons View Detailed 3D VR
Medical professionals who want to make navigating the brain an easier task for themselves, their teams, and for patients are using Virtual Reality to do just that. Surgical Theater is using Precision VR as a tool to help visualize the brain by using 2D brain scans.
The company is using two dimensional CT, MRI, DTI, and other scans to help patients gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside their brains. The Precision VR platform is being used by surgeons as a way to inform and educate patients before they go under the knife for complicated brain operations.
Neurosurgeons at UCLA and recently Children’s National Health System First Pediatric Hospital are using VR to view nerves, blood vessels, and brain tissue in detail. Patients, doctors, and surgeons can take a trip into a virtual simulation of the brain and get a better view of the 2D scans which are layered on top of each other to form a 3D model.
“Technology such as Surgical Theater’s represents a quantum leap for neurosurgeons, both in and out of the operating room,” said Robert Keating, Chief of Neurosurgery at Children’s National Health System.
“It allows us to marry state-of-the-art 3D simulation to the real world; for the patient and family as well as doctors in training, and ultimately offers a new tool for the neurosurgical armamentarium in approaching complex lesions in the brain, such as AVM’s, tumors, epilepsy and functional cases.”
Patients and their medical team wear a VR headset like an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and become virtual avatars inside Precision VR. They then get transported into the custom 3D brain models and “fly” through it by using their head or controller movements and have their doctors and surgeons there to explain it all.
Ailing patients won’t have to guess or visualize what their brains look like from the inside, the simulation is on the screen right in front of them. Once teams target tumors or “abnormalities” they can see the best method for extraction or treatment by taking multiple visits to the site before surgery.
VR Enabled Surgical Training
What was once a black and white 2D image is now an individualized 3D and color coded model with depth and detail that helps doctors and surgeons distinguish between different areas and parts of the brain. Viewing a real sample of specific brain abnormalities is also a great way to train and prepare medical professionals.
Surgeons are currently using Precision VR to train and practice very detailed surgeries. VR Scout reports that over 6,000 patients have had a virtual tour of their brains using this technology. Using a visual recreation of a patient’s unique brain at any angle and size helps medical teams collaborate, plan, and perform complicated procedures.
In turn, seeing a real model of the brain or affected parts makes the team’s job more streamlined with Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform or SNAP to plan out surgeries. They use learned surgical techniques alongside the recreation played out onscreen to complete procedures in the best way they know how.
Undergoing invasive and non-invasive surgeries can be frightening to patients and their loved ones. Giving medical teams the most advanced neurosurgery tools to help visualize and explain the model of an abnormality doubly empowers the patient and practitioner with information about the upcoming procedure, benefits and risks included.