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Stanford University Neurosurgery Embraces Surgical Theater’s Virtual Reality Platform
July 22, 2016
Surgical Theater’s Virtual Reality (VR) medical visualization platform lands at Stanford University, Department of Neurosurgery, in the heart of Silicon Valley where medical innovation converges with technology to usher in the next-generation of patient engagement and health care. Stanford University leads the way in advancing medicine on multiple fronts from research to treatment. With Surgical Theater’s innovative VR medical visualization platform, the University is now advancing the importance of patient engagement and patient empowerment.
“We see tremendous value in utilizing virtual reality across our treatment continuum especially with regards to educating patients and families about complex treatments options,” said Gary Steinberg, M.D., Ph.D., Bernard and Ronnie Lacroute-William Randolph Hearst Professor of Neurosurgery, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and the Founder and Co-Director of the Stanford Stroke Center. “Equipping our neurosurgeons with virtual reality also allows us to advance our mission of precision medicine while further personalizing our approach to solve the most challenging neurological disorders for each patient.”
Precision VR™, Surgical Theater’s VR medical visualization platform, builds upon the traditional method of the neurosurgeon pointing out the tumor or vascular abnormality on a flat, black-and-white 2D image used in most medical facilities. Precision VR also bridges a critical gap in patient education by allowing for increased shared decision-making opportunities, especially for those with language barriers, for children and the elderly, and for families as they are grappling with a new and bewildering diagnosis.
Surgical Theater combines leading-edge fighter jet flight simulation technology with the patient’s own anatomy scans, using medical imaging such as MRI and CT, to create a VR reconstruction of the individual patient anatomy and pathology. This allows for multiple levels of interaction and immersion for the surgeon and the patient from swiping fingers across a touch screen to donning an Oculus Rift® or HTC Vive® VR headset.
When wearing the VR headset, a VR-empowered patient can tour and walk into the space between vascular structures and can literally stand between arteries and the tumor. For example, when the patient will turn his head to the right, he will see the tumor; to the left, he will see the artery; looking down toward his feet, he will see the skull base. Furthermore, the VR-empowered patient can physically walk together with the surgeon down a planned surgical path or minimally invasive corridor to obtain an understanding of the safety and benefits of less invasive surgical approaches.