WARNING: The contents of the Video above may be considered as graphic to some.
VR is being used to help prospective brain surgeons train and see procedures in unprecedented detail. Surgeons training to work on the brain have typically struggled getting hands-on experience thanks to the inaccessibility of neurosurgery.
Alex Alamri, a surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust, and other clinicians at the Royal London Hospital recently conducted the first brain surgery to be recorded in virtual reality, using 360-degree cameras and GoPros on the heads of the surgeons.
“Neurosurgery is probably one of the most inaccessible surgical specialities there is, especially from the point of view of the patients and public,” says Alamri. “They can experience a certain element of neurophobia where anything to do with the brain is quite scary.”
Alamri, along with colleague Chris Uff and others at The Royal London Hospital, has conducted the first brain surgery recorded in virtual reality. Working with FundamentalVR, the team used both 360-degree cameras in the operating theatre and added an picture-in-picture GoPros strapped to the heads of the surgeons to capture the remarkable procedure. Feeling inquisitive? Grab your VR headset and click play on the YouTube video above, as that is obviously the best way to experience this.
The procedure involved two aneurysms being clipped and Alamri says it is “one of the most invasive neurosurgical treatments there is”. The surgery went as planned and Alamri hopes it will help people to understand neurosurgery. “Hopefully from all points of view: a tech one, an education point of view, and a brain aneurysm awareness point of view it hits all three nails on the head.”
FundamentalVR states that it helps businesses to leverage VR, AR and MR for the purpose of training. The company has developed technology that allows trainees to carry out ‘virtual surgeries’ and get real-time feedback so they can feel what surgeons would feel during the procedure.The adoption of VR in this instance is part of a broader project called Brainbook, which uploaded the video to YouTube.
Chris Scattergood, one of FundamentalVR’s cofounders, says the company is aiming to build a “flight simulator” for surgeons that allows them to “practice and feel the tissue types” involved in multiple scenarios. By helping to film the 360-video with the hospital and NHS Trust, FundamentalVR says it is the first step for it to build a VR training tool for the brain aneurysm procedure.
The video, which is at times extremely graphic and involves up-close footage of brain surgery, demonstrates the immersive nature of the VR footage. The surgery being carried out was the clipping of two aneurysms and is apparently extremely invasive. On this occasion the procedure went as planned.
Tech is helping healthcare develop, with recent advances such as the use of artificial intelligence in the early detection of skin cancer.