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How Virtual Reality Is Going To Play A Key Role In Healthcare

Northeast Ohio

If you were one of the people who dreamed of a future filled with flying cars and virtual reality, well your dreams weren’t too far off from where we are in 2016. While companies like Terrafugia are knee-deep in development of real-life flying cars, virtual reality is just beginning to take off, and not just in video games. 

Dr. Neil Martin is UCLA’s chair of neurosurgery and he’s developed a seemingly futuristic concept that involves exploring the human brain via virtual reality. The device is called Surgical Theater and it allows doctors to see inside someone’s body with the help of a VR environment. This will not only help doctors get a sense of what they’re in for before surgery, but can also help diagnose and explore whatever might be going on. 

The Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP) is a recent product released by Surgical Theater that will connect to hospital medical devices in order to provide high-end imaging, making things like tumors much easier to navigate. The official website states, "One additional feature of the SNAP is a dynamic segmentation which allows for making specific structures semitransparent to observe vessel structure inside the tumor and tumor boundaries."

This technology from Surgical Theater allows for some serious advancements in the medical industry, helping doctors understand tumors better than ever. The program uses flight-simulation technology to help doctors explore the tumor in question from all angles in order to ready themselves for surgery. You can see the SNAP in action below involving a meningioma. 

It was only a matter of time before we started applying things like virtual reality to healthcare. Just think of the possibilities. Mothers who go in for their ultrasounds might be able to see their baby in virtual reality rather than on a monitor. Tumors and other growths might be seen easier and faster than they have been in the past, raising the chances of catching them before they spread. Mysterious ailments involving internal organs could be a thing of the past, thanks to virtual reality. It’s amazing to see how far virtual reality has grown outside of being used as an entertainment device, and it’s exciting to see the advancements being made in every corner of our lives.

For more information on Surgical Theater, you can visit the official website

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