In an attempt to create a more lifelike surgical experience, University of Minnesota Medical School professors are teaching with virtual-reality simulators to improve technique and guide students through complex cases.
Developed in collaboration with local medical device companies, the simulators are like in-depth video games for learning.
As reported by the Star Tribune, Robert M. Sweet, M.D., director of the Medical School Simulation Programs said, “researchers hope to build anatomical models so lifelike that medical residents will get hands-on experience and learn from their mistakes without harming patients.”
An added bonus, as simulators collect data, they are able to detect common surgical errors that can lower risks in the operating room.
Daniel Guillaume, M.D., an associate professor in the Neurosurgery Department elaborated further on a 3-D graphics simulator.
“Before this kind of thing came along, the only way to teach people to operate was in the operating room on a human who was still alive, because cadavers don’t have the same tissue property,” said Guillaume. “So this is actually better than a cadaver and it’s safer than operating on a patient.”
Due to Minnesota’s medical device manufacturing power, Minnesota physicians, computer experts and scientists are uniquely en route to become the forerunners in the emerging field of virtual-reality surgery.