A journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins highlights the efficacy of robotic technologies in helping neurosurgeons perform precise surgeries by navigating through the brain using virtual reality environments.
Garnette Sutherland, MD said in his introductory article, “Virtual Reality (VR) and robotics are two rapidly expanding fields with growing application within neurosurgery. The 22 reviews, commentaries, and original studies in the special supplement provide an up-to-the-minute overview of the benefits and ongoing challenges related to the latest incarnations of these technologies.”
The use of Virtual reality and robotic technologies in training, planning, and actual performance of neurosurgical procedures is significant. Robotic tools help provide mechanical assistance to steady a surgeon’s hand or for scaling hand movements.
Robots and human operators can function together synergizing the capabilities of human thinking with that of robots which provide data required to locate a moving subject or to operate in difficult positions besides eliminating muscle fatigue.
Virtual reality technologies give “spatial orientation” between robotic instruments and the surgeon and helps recreate the surgical space offering 3-D visual images as well as haptic or sense of touch feedback.
This gives the surgeons valuable insights and the ability to plan, rehearse and “play back” operations in the brain, very essential in training neurosurgery residents.
The journal covers topics on robotic technologies like the “neuroArm” image-guided neurosurgical robot; 3-D neurosurgical planning and virtual endoscopy; and future development, evaluation, and clinical uses of VR and robotic technologies.
The challenges that the use of robotic and VR technologies have to face in clinical neurosurgery are many. Very fast processing times in VR environments to continuously update sensory information for surgeons to act is critical besides the cost of developing and implementing VR and robotic technologies. Progress in miniaturization is expected to make the technology cost-effective, according to the journal.
In related news, Information technology is gaining importance in surgery with computers, and a variety of microprocessor-enabled equipment and instruments, supporting and facilitating the work of the surgeon. They bring a level of safety and precision to surgery according to a new market research report “Medical Robotics and Computer-Assisted Surgery: The Global Market.”
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Edited by Rich Steeves