Virtual reality training in neurosurgery: Review of current status and future applications

Background : Over years, surgical training is changing and years of tradition are being challenged by legal and ethical concerns for patient safety, work hour restrictions, and the cost of operating room time. Surgical simulation and skill training offer an opportunity to teach and practice advanced techniques before attempting them on patients. Simulation training can be as straightforward as using real instruments and video equipment to manipulate simulated "tissue" in a box trainer. More advanced virtual reality (VR) simulators are now available and ready for widespread use. Early systems have demonstrated their effectiveness and discriminative ability. Newer systems enable the development of comprehensive curricula and full procedural simulations. Methods : A PubMed review of the literature was performed for the MESH words "Virtual reality", "Augmented Reality", "Simulation", "Training," and "Neurosurgery". Relevant articles were retrieved and reviewed. A review of the literature was performed for the history, current status of VR simulation in neurosurgery. Results : Surgical organizations are calling for methods to ensure the maintenance of skills, advance surgical training, and credential surgeons as technically competent. The number of published literature discussing the application of VR simulation in neurosurgery training has evolved over the last decade from data visualization, including stereoscopic evaluation to more complex augmented reality models. With the revolution of computational analysis abilities, fully immersive VR models are currently available in neurosurgery training. Ventriculostomy catheters insertion, endoscopic and endovascular simulations are used in neurosurgical residency training centers across the world. Recent studies have shown the coloration of proficiency with those simulators and levels of experience in the real world. Conclusion : Fully immersive technology is starting to be applied to the practice of neurosurgery. In the near future, detailed VR neurosurgical modules will evolve to be an essential part of the curriculum of the training of neurosurgeons.

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