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Virtual reality simulator helps teach surgery for brain cancer, reports Neurosurgery
Date:9/20/2012

signed training tasks to simulate common neurosurgery procedures using the NeuroTouch. In one task, the surgeon is to remove brain tumor while leaving normal tissues intact, using two different suction devices. In this simulation, the system provides touch and visual cues to discriminate between healthy tissue and brain tumor.

In the other task, the surgeon must remove a vascularized (supplied with blood) tumor while controlling blood loss. The blood vessels and tissues look realistic, including normal pulsations. The vessels bleed when the surgeon applies a cutting tool and stop bleeding when he or she uses a simulated cautery tool.

Both tasks were developed using 3D reconstructions of magnetic resonance imaging scan data from actual patients. With further development, the system may be used not only to practice basic procedures, but even to allow neurosurgeons to simulate and practice actual operations, based on the patient's own MRI scan.

During the development process, the researchers received feedback through an advisory network of teaching hospitals. The 3-D visual graphics received high praise, although the tactile feedback system came in for more criticism. Surgeons testing the system also suggested improvements to the ergonomics of using the simulator.

Neurosurgical residency training programs are challenged to make the most of their resources while maximizing training opportunities for residents. About 90 percent of surgical training is received in the operating room, where residents learn procedures by assisting surgeons with hundreds of operations.

Medical simulatorssimilar to those used to train airline pilotsare increasingly viewed as a cost-effective complement to traditional surgical training. For example, a commercially available simulator has proven effective in helping trainees perform minimally invasive gallbladder surgery more rapidly, with a lower risk of patient injury.

The NeuroTouch syste
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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