Picture this: a man suffering from a rare brain tumor requires immediate surgery; one of the world’s leading surgeons for the patient’s particular tumor is half way around the world at a conference; there are no other surgeons in the immediate vicinity that have performed such a complex surgery; all hope is lost, right? Well maybe not.
What if that surgeon who is half way around the world could perform the surgery remotely, with astounding accuracy? It sounds like something straight out of a science fiction film, no? Well, this very well could be reality of the surgical world.
A recent report from EdScoop.com claims that a new virtual reality platform, called Osso VR, could change the way that surgeons-in-training study. Currently, a surgical student practices necessary techniques on a cadaver, or a deceased body. This is, at the moment, the most hands-on method of learning about how to dissect the human body short of practicing on a living person. But Osso VR looks to change that completely.
The platform focuses on providing a completely virtual operating room to students via a virtual reality headset. Students interact with the program through two controllers that mimic real-world movements on a one-to-one scale. In order to make the simulation even more realistic, the controllers provide a kinesthetic feedback in order to mimic what an actual surgical procedure would feel like.
This is incredibly advanced technology that could fundamentally change the way that our surgeons prepare for surgery. We could even use this technology so that remote surgeries could be completed with great success, just like the example above.
Student surgeons could practice a surgery as much as they want without having to use cadavers, thus ensuring their knowledge and capability; practicing surgeons could prepare for a complex or new type of surgery multiple times to ensure efficacy. The possibilities are endless.
I’m certainly very excited to see this program take off and become the norm at medical universities and hospitals around the world.