Virtual Reality and Medical Advancements
Virtual Reality (VR) is an artificial reality done through software that stimulates both the senses of sight and sound. It offers an interactive experience that many users perceive to be
“Real life.” Virtual Reality can be used both for gaming and educational purposes. The use of the simulated 3D world has generated many advances in particularly medical education. Healthcare is the main use of this new found technology used to simulate trainings and skills assessments as well as helping patients battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and phobias. (Vrs.org)
Virtual Reality has become the future for medical education in health care professionals. It extends from training people for high-alert situations, such as emergency interventions, to experiencing contexts similar to traveling inside a cell or molecule. (Mantovani et al, 390) VR offers the students a chance to learn through first-person experiences that would be otherwise impossible or too costly. According to Mantovani, “Simulation of the real world provided by VR offer students the opportunity to learn while they are situated in the context where what they learn is to be applied; this results in more meaningful and effective learning, as compared with learning out of context.” (Mantovani, 390) Recent advances involve training for gunshot wounds, knee surgery, palpation of subsurfaces breast tumors and even orthopedic surgery.
Recently NASA researchers have developed a VR based system that for planning and practicing surgeries, known as Cyber-scalpel. For example, to plan the operation of a patient with cancer of the jaw, both upper and lower jaws were recreated based off a CAT scan. This proved to be extremely effective in preparing for the actual surgery, increasing success rates. (Riva, 992) Many life saving procedures that are rarely practiced can be simulated using VR. An example of this is cricothyrotomy, involving “making an incision into a specific area of patient’s neck and inserting a plastic tube through a thin membrane into the trachea.” (Glatter, Forbes) It is life-saving if done correctly, however can be deadly if not completed properly and on time. With the use of Virtual Reality, medical professionals get the opportunity to practice the procedure in 3D scenarios; further improving their skills and efficiency.
Virtual Reality for PTSD helps patients in confronting the trauma head on. VR programs have been used effectively to simulate accidents, the World Trade Center attacks and war scenarios for veterans. A trained specialist controls what the patient is seeing and make the experience personal to them while ensuring they are not overwhelmed. “The idea is to desensitize patients to their trauma and train them not to panic, all in a controlled environment.” (Sippel, 74)
“Exposure therapy, in wh...