In the next few years as virtual reality becomes a more significant part of our lives, most of the attention will probably be focused on all of the ways that it will change how we consume entertainment, shop and experience social media. But the real revolutionary use for VR tech will be with the ongoing development of more powerful and immersive training and educational applications. A market that already is benefiting from virtual reality training technology is the medical industry, which has begun using procedure-dedicated systems to help train the next generation of doctors in the use of advanced medical technology. 3D Systems has been a leading developer of these virtual reality training systems since they acquired Simbionix in 2014.
After releasing several new Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation training modules in the past year, 3D Systems is releasing yet another that is expected to dramatically improve patient care all over the world. This week 3D Systems’ medical subsidiary Simbionix is releasing the first and only virtual reality training module for Laparoscopic Transabdominal Preperitoneal (TAPP) Inguinal Hernia Repair. The module will be made available for the LAP Mentor laparoscopic surgical simulator as well as the RobotiX Mentor simulator used for procedures using surgical assisting robotics. This system will help teach doctors and surgeons to perform a common surgical procedure that will lead to better, more comprehensive medical training.
Each year there are about 600,000 inguinal hernia repair operations performed, and while minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery will be less painful, leave less scarring and reduce healing time, most patients undergo the traditional procedure. There is plenty of evidence that the MIS Laparoscopic TAPP technique is a huge improvement over traditional methods, but using laparoscopic technology carries with it a steep learning curve. Unfortunately this has led to a very slow adoption process for TAPP due to a lack in structured training.
Currently the only available hands-on training method is using training boxes with models or cadavers donated to medical research. The new TAPP Inguinal Hernia Repair training module being released by 3D Systems this week is the very first comprehensive, virtual reality training simulator for the technique that is both interactive and repeatable. The system was designed to reduce the learning curve using a true-to-life anatomical environment that allows the surgical procedure to be regularly repeated within using safe, hands-on virtual training.
“Our extensive and growing offering of physical and virtual 3D healthcare solutions provides the skills and means for medical professionals to overcome today’s challenges and advance the future of care. Each of our targeted products responds to a need within the healthcare community and is the result of our close work and collaboration with medical experts. From educational training modules and simulation to patient specific preoperative surgical planning to 3D printed tools and implants, we are dedicated to advancing 3D technology’s role in healthcare to improve the experiences and outcomes of practitioners, students and patients,” said 3D Systems’ Chief Operating Officer, Healthcare Kevin McAlea.
The training module includes interactive guidance features and will include procedure training that covers operation-specific skills like identifying anatomical landmarks and key internal structures to peritoneum incision, and the dissection and removal of the hernia sac. The virtual reality system will provide objective performance measurement which helps build valuable surgical decision making skills. 3D Systems is currently developing additional procedural steps that will be included in future updates that include mesh handling and peritoneal closure.
Here is video of the simulation software:
3D Systems will be showcasing their virtual reality healthcare solutions, as well as offering hands-on demonstrations at the upcoming European Association for Endoscopic Surgery (EAES) at booth #76, on June 15th to the 17th, taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They will also be appearing at the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM), at booth #EX30 from June 15th to the 17th, in Lisbon. Discuss further in the Virtual Reality Hernia Training forum over at 3DPB.com.