Virtual Reality Surgery Trains Doctors (Video)

Virtual Surgery Practice Before the Show


So how many of you have had surgery before? How about played video games? Well this time on Health Tech Weekly I bring you a new training project that is bringing those two activities together. Enter Surgical Theater, a revolutionary virtual reality surgery training tool that is being used to allow surgeons and surgeons in training to practice difficult surgeries while watching on a virtual patient screen.

This is not that far from the reality of many surgeries which are conducted using remote instruments and video from inside the patient via tiny incisions in the skin. According to the website at allow physicians to plan, rehearse and tele-mentor surgery.

“Tele-mentor?” That sounds more like a cartoon super villain than a method of training the doctors of the future.

Whatever the words they use this is pretty cool. The system is featuring specific neurosurgeries including modules for cerebral aneurysm, pituitary tumor and meningioma (a form of brain cancer) according to an interview with Surgical Theater’s president Moty Avisar from The system takes flat two dimensional images from CT scans and X-rays and translates them into the three dimensional anatomical geography of the brain so that surgeons can prepare for the structures they will actually see during the real operation.

Coming Soon To A Hospital Near You


The system has received initial FDA approval to move forward and has been purchased by several hospital systems including University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland. Once final FDA approval has been received, the system will operate side by side in real surgeries allowing surgeons to practice difficult moves just before they do it for real, similar to the way athletes warm up before a race or competition.

As the system continues to roll out to other hospital programs, the surgical theater could be coming to a surgery near you. Early adopters include the Mayo Clinic, UCLA medical center and more.

That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at out website,, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at

I’m your host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic. I’ll be back soon with more health technology for you. In the meantime, remember that improving health takes small, simple steps that over time all add up to a healthier you. Why don’t you take a healthier step today?

Simulation centers at MetroHealth


Plain Dealer and – Simulation centers at MetroHealth, University Hospitals and Cleveland Clinic help caregivers practice skills, reduce errors

President and CEO Moty Avisar says doctors wear special glasses to view three-dimensional models on the computer screen reconstructed from a patient’s CT and MRI scans, as well as other information. The lifelike tissue on the screen reacts to the SRP’s controls that mimic surgical instruments.  Dr. Warren Selman, neurosurgeon-in-chief of University Hospitals, says planning and practicing improve care to patients with conditions such as cerebral aneurysms — one of the most complex procedures a neurosurgeon performs. “I could imagine it in my mind’s eye, but with the surgical theater, I can see the actual environment and practice the moves,” says Selman, who helped develop the SRP. “I want to know what the aneurysm looks like. Is this surgical clip too short? Will it cause bleeding? Does the clip need to be angled,” he says. He can even see a 360-degree view of an aneurysm — something not even possible during the actual surgery. Avisar predicts that simulators such as SRP eventually will be in operating rooms to help doctors make critical decisions during actual surgeries. Selman points out that SRP has broadband capabilities for long-distance instruction and consultations. A 2011 meta-analysis of 635 studies in the journal JAMA concludes that simulation training has large effects on knowledge, skills and teamwork, as well as moderate effects on patient outcomes.  Dr. Mark Aeder, associate professor of surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and medical director of the Mt. Sinai skills center, agrees that simulation fills the ability gaps. “If someone is not quite getting a particular technique or interaction, they can practice, practice, practice in simulated settings.”…

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