LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Officials at Norton Children’s Hospital say the health care center is now using virtual reality to prepare to conduct surgery in a more precise and efficient manner.
Health care professionals say virtual reality isn’t just for video games anymore. Neurosurgeons at the hospital are using the VR headset and controllers to plan surgeries. When the headset goes on, it’s game time for doctors — but not in the conventional sense.
The doctors are using the tech to dive into a child’s brain by converting dozens of two-dimensional MRI and CAT scan images into 3D models.
Officials say it’s the first time in this region that virtual reality is being used for this type of health care application. There are only about a dozen other hospitals in the entire country using this surgical theater program.
Doctors say it’s giving them a more accurate picture of the brain and the illnesses. But more than that, it also gives families a chance to fully understand what’s happening inside their child’s brain.
One neurosurgeon says the 3D image and the ability to virtually tour the brain calms families down.
“To have a tool that reliably reduces that anxiety not only lets us know one of the reasons for it — which can be helpful — but it allows us to address it in really straightforward, beneficial ways,” said Ian Mutchnick, a neurosurgeon at Norton Children’s Hospital.
Along with being able to see the brain with the tumors and lesions, doctors can also use the technology to practice an operation before they even step into an operating room.
Doctors at the hospital are still practicing with the equipment and haven’t performed a surgery utilizing it yet, but they have been using it for planning purposes.
Officials say the application was made possible by the Children’s Hospital Foundation. The foundation is working to raise additional funds to fully implement the technology. You can help by donating at HelpNortonChildrens.com.
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