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Current and future applications of virtual reality for medicine

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2 Author(s)
Satava, R.M. ; Dept. of Surg., Yale Univ. Sch. of Med., New Haven, CT, USA ; Jones, S.B.

Virtual reality is just emerging as an accepted scientific discipline for medicine. The majority of near-term applications are in the area of surgical planning, interoperative navigation, and surgical simulations. Its use in rehabilitative medicine and psychiatry has made significant progress. The immediate future holds promise for virtual endoscopy, which may replace standard endoscopic procedures for diagnostic screening. Viewing of these virtual images may be with head-mounted displays or true suspended holograms. The most highly developed area is in surgical simulations. Current generations are approaching photorealistic representation of the anatomy, while measurement science is providing physical tissue properties and physiologic parameters. The types of simulations range from “needle-based” procedures, such as standard intravenous insertion, central venous placement catheter, and chest-tube insertion to more sophisticated simulations of full surgical procedures like laparoscopic cholecystectomy or hysteroscopic resection of interuterine myoma. In addition, haptic input devices are providing the sense of touch to the procedures. Soon there will be patient-specific models derived from computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans that will permit a surgeon to practice a delicate surgical procedure on the patient's specific virtual anatomy before actually performing the procedure on the patient

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:86 ,  Issue: 3 )