While certainly very appealing and engaging when it involves video games, virtual reality has some practical applications outside the world of gaming as well. In fact, there’s new research suggesting VR technology may reduce errors in spine surgery. Here’s what you need to know about how virtual reality concepts could be beneficial if you end up needing spine surgery at some point in the future.
Virtual reality isn’t yet the norm when it comes to spine surgery. That said, there are minimally invasive techniques already more common and accessible, such as minimally invasive neck surgery. Beverly Hills patients should talk to their doctors or spine specialists as soon as possible if they have spine-related discomfort right now that’s affecting their daily lives to find out what options are available.
To determine whether virtual reality can reduce errors in spine surgery, researchers looked at randomized groups of 4th– and 5th-year medical residents. One group went through standard instruction provided with technical videos. The other group got more hands-on instruction with a special type of VR called PrecisionOS immersive virtual reality.
Researchers found orthopedic surgery residents from the virtual reality group did better than the other group when it came to key procedural metrics and general knowledge of various techniques and procedures. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found:
• The traditionally trained group made approximately 50 percent more errors than the VR-trained group
• VR training is significantly less expensive than traditional training
• Immersive VR training sessions were roughly as effective as nearly 50 minutes of training in operating rooms
Based on how the VR group performed, researchers also determined training involving virtual reality may significantly reduce the learning curve for future doctors who may end up performing spine-related procedures. This is why some medical experts who are aware of the results being seen with VR training are already on board with this approach to training.
Of course, there are many highly skilled spine surgeons who are perfectly capable of transferring traditionally learned skills to the treatments they provide for actual patients. However, since virtual reality training includes spine-related modules, future generations of spine surgeons may already have extensive hands-on training before they begin performing operations on real patients.
Spine surgery, even when it involves outpatient procedures, can be incredibly complex. Virtual reality could help surgeons gain added experience with the many complexities commonly associated with spine surgery. This, in turn, could mean fewer potential errors, which is ultimately good for patients.
As virtual reality training continues to evolve, there may come a time when surgeons can practice very specific or highly complex procedures virtually before performing the actual operations. For example, if MRI results show the location of a spinal tumor that needs to be removed, a spine surgeon may be able to practice removing it in a VR environment first. What this can do is improve precision and accuracy when real-world spine surgery is performed.
If you’re having sudden, severe, or long-term pain in your back or neck, consulting a Beverly Hills spine surgeon may be the key to prompt diagnosis and treatment. At The Spine Institute, our physicians have years of experience treating issues related to spinal health. Our cutting-edge methods and pioneering specialists lead the industry when it comes to surgical and nonsurgical innovations and helping patients get back on their feet as soon as possible. Call our friendly staff members today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.