The Application of VR Stimulation in Neurovascular Surgery

Applying VR Simulation in the Field of Neurovascular Surgery for Improved Surgical Efficiency

Surgical Theater, a company known for their next-generation innovations in medical virtual reality, recently revealed the results of their first clinical study that aimed to examine the effects of technology in the field of neurovascular surgery and that is now published in one of the leading peer-reviewed scientific journals in the industry, the Journal of Neurosurgery.

VR Simulation in the Field of Neurovascular Surgery

Surgical Planning Via Virtual Reality

A neurosurgical procedure is a complicated medical procedure that requires a surgeon to delve into a three-dimensional space that is extremely complex and difficult to understand. To undertake a successful surgery, what is needed is a comprehensive understanding of the human anatomy and how it spatially relates to certain pathological structures.

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In the VR simulation of a surgical procedure, a number of high-definition CT and MRI images are reconstructed in a three-dimensional way and the anatomical structures are then individually realistically created and displayed. Surgeons then plan on the best possible approach to a specific surgery using the virtual 3D space that’s available to them. This technology basically allows them to plan the surgical strategy that’s best for the patient and that would introduce the greater chances of success for the surgery without resorting to a highly invasive trial-and-error procedure.

The Results

The results of the study showed that the surgical rehearsal platform (SRP) of the Surgical Theater can potentially improve the safety levels and efficiency of aneurysm microsurgery procedures. This conclusion was reached due to a noticeable decrease in time per aneurysm clip as well as definite downward trends toward a decrease in overall operating times and few clip application attempts. In surgery, every second counts as the life of the patient is at stake and is under a great number of risks. Therefore, any second saved and a more efficient strategy already means a great deal. In addition, a shortening of the operating room time is more beneficial to hospital in terms of its resources. 

According to Jim Breidenstein, president and COO of Surgical Theater, “It is with great pride, we share the first in a series of clinical research studies demonstrating the surgical, clinical and economic advantages that Surgical Theater’s enterprise-wide solution is providing to surgeons and their patients from the clinic to the operating room.”

VR in neurovascular surgery

The research study was aptly titled “Surgical Rehearsal Platform Use Improvement Measures in Aneurysm Clipping: A Prospective, Randomized Trial,” and it aimed to examine one of the most difficult brain surgery procedures ever, which is aneurysm clipping microsurgery, especially the preoperative utilization of the SRP with patient-specific anatomic imaging. The aneurysm usually appears as an inflamed blister on the blood vessel wall in the brain, and it threatens to rupture at any time, which can lead to severe internal bleeding, brain damage, and even long-term disability.

Observations

In the study group that made use of preoperative surgical rehearsal, it shows that there was a great decrease in operating time per clip, with an average time of over 6 minutes as compared to the control group that did not use the technique in question. In addition, there was a downward trend when it came to the number of clip attempts and the total surgical time. 

It is a medical fact that every aneurysm is different in terms of location and size, and the SRP proves that it is able to offer a surgeon many different surgical options so he can fully select, rehearse, and perfect his chosen strategy before he ever enters the operating room.

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