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FREMONT, CA: Piecing together a set of 2D images to understand the patient’s anatomy is challenging as it doesn’t demonstrate the complete picture. MRIs and CT scans provide a limited perspective on what a patient’s organs such as the brain looks like. However, if the images are supplied with the virtual reality (VR) technology, surgeons can see the brain in its entirety with all the fissures and ridges, veins, and lobes in 3D. Thus, they can simulate the surgery in advance.
According to Gary Steinberg, a Stanford Medicine Neurosurgeon, VR technology provides the surgeons with a déjà vu, and the real surgery doesn’t come as a surprise. Stanford Medicine is just one of the many hospitals that are gearing up to embrace VR technology. The VR advancements are intended to provide faster and better training for surgeons and doctors whose skills can determine the difference between life and death for their patients.
Early VR software and headsets provided poor imagery that even nauseated some of the users, thereby eliminating it from the space. However, the technology, as it is today, has improved so much that students can walk around a lifelike digital hologram of a lung and get themselves inside a heart to analyze the valves and blood pumping process.
VR for Faster Learning
VR is also a great help in teaching the next generation of doctors. Students who utilized Microsoft HoloLens VR headsets to learn human anatomy gained the knowledge in almost half the time compared to those who studied the same area on cadavers. VR will be especially useful for countries like India and China that will require six million new physicians by 2020. Moreover, the U.S. requires 20,000 more surgeons to deal with its aging population.
VR in Other Areas of Medicine
VR technology is already used by surgeons in several areas of medicine and medical procedures, including cancer treatment, where VR technology supplies with interactive maps of tumors. However, surgery remains the area with the highest potential for AI capabilities.
VR also enables to assess the students based on their mistakes against the traditional ways where a student was judged on how long he takes to perform a procedure.