The Benefits of Personalized VR Scans for Surgical Training

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The road to becoming a surgeon is a long and difficult one. From start to finish, a prospective surgeon may well be looking at a decade of learning and training, with tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in pursuit of both knowledge and skill. From the classroom to the observation theater, from dummies to mock-ups and simulations, weeks and months and years are spent amassing the working knowledge needed to keep the body working the way it’s supposed to. However, from the moment they crack open their first textbook, right up until the moment they have someone under the knife, they’re working with facsimiles.

These facsimiles, while useful, don’t allow surgeons any knowledge of the specific patient they’ll be working with. Luckily, recent advances in technology are beginning to change that. With direct DICOM-to-VR scanning features, CT scans and even MRIs can be uploaded to and explored in a fully-immersive VR environment. But how, exactly, do these advances benefit surgeons in training?

The Variety of Reality

The ability to upload actual patient data gives students the ability to experience many different types of cases on a pre-planned simulation. It will also allow them to explore variations in the same type of case, i.e. tumors in various shapes, sizes, and regions of an organ rather than being the same each time.

And of course, it gives students the opportunity to work on very rare or unique cases, ones that no one could think to plan for, allowing them valuable preparation in the face of unanticipated changes in a patient's condition.

Familiarity with Cases

VR scans will allow surgeons to “observe” and “work on” a patient many times before any procedures actually take place.

The traditional training paradigm of see one, do one, teach one, becomes see one, practice until proficient, do one, teach one. This improves not just the quality of the procedure performed, but the quality of the teaching afterward.

This method also lends a better understanding of placement, size, etc. of surgical problems with much more intimacy and accuracy than can be had on a computer screen.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

More Accuracy in Performance

A greater familiarity with cases and patients leads directly to greater accuracy, faster procedure performance, and far fewer surgical errors, especially for the first time.

Faster, more accurate procedures also means decreased recovery times and fewer complications, leading to an overall safer experience for patients.

Photo by  jesse orrico  on  Unsplash

Keeping Up with Tomorrow’s Medical Challenges

A fully-realized 3D simulation is helpful, but with real data from real patients, the benefits cannot be overstated. These tools will allow generic training to be tailored and elevated to specifically prepare surgeons and other medical students for their work in the field to a degree that could previously only be dreamed of.

Brandi Madar