Can simulation tech improve our surgeons?

Swapping out cadavers for computers could soon become the way surgeons train, thanks to advances in simulation technology and virtual reality.

As one of the most demanding careers one can undertake, advanced and cutting edge training techniques are invaluable in preparing for the various surgeries and procedures faced in the medical field. As long as medical science and education have existed, so too have practice procedures, usually performed on donors.

While donors will always be an important part of medical research, simulation could provide a far better solution for the vast majority. By putting on a VR headset, doctors can be transported to an operating room, promising a far more immersive experience.

In a simulation, the tenseness of an operation room can be established, as can a large number of procedures. This variety will ensure training covers a large number of operations, giving surgeons the best chance of success when it comes to the real thing.

For example, if a doctor wants to train in a particular hip replacement produce, the simulation can establish the patient type, replacement prosthetic and any other pre-existing conditions.

One company has already made significant progress with simulated medical technology, offering a range of services either to institutions or individuals. Called Simtics, the company only requires a web browser and internet connection to operate, giving medical professions the chance to perform a number of procedures.

By using the Simtics system, doctors can conduct real-time simulations and track progress over time in a digital logbook.

Virtual reality technology could be a game changer here, and in a short space of time too. Thanks to the advancements already made, medical simulations only need to be adapted to the VR format and given enhancements.

Potentially, even augmented reality could play a large role in the operating theatre, displaying useful information for doctors such as heart rates and surgical overlays on the body.

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