VR Applications in Orthopaedic Surgery

VR Applications in Orthopaedic Surgery
Image Credits: Digital Trends 

 “To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” – William Londen

As the world becomes more digital, niches of technology begin to emerge. Once thought to be the stuff of video games, virtual reality is now emerging as a phenomenon that is enhancing both medical training, and medical practice. The ability to visualise is key to determining the best path forward when treating a patient. 

Virtual Reality (VR) synchronises 2D images in order to generate a 3D image that becomes a reality in the eyes of the viewer. The computer generated reality is viewed through the lenses of specially designed glasses, and the equipment that the glasses are connected to. Via the utilisation of VR in orthopaedics , various advantages have been gained by both the patient and the doctor. The technology is a great tool for orthopaedic decision making, and enables ease in diagnosis of the patient, as well as a well thought out treatment plan. 

VR creates an immersive environment for the orthopaedic specialist. Via digital display, the orthopaedic specialist can interact with the generated images and enable engagement of the doctor with the simulation of the particular case under study. Via a series of cameras, the head-mounted displays, auxiliary equipment and props, the full VR experience can be achieved. 

What is Image-Guided Orthopaedic Surgery?

With the ability of surgical specialists to see into the body, surgical procedures are now more successful than ever. The best way to determine the course of any process is to have a detailed plan that will outline how the desired outcome will be achieved. Imaging technology is utilized by orthopaedic surgeons either before or during surgery to determine a patient’s best custom treatment. 

One type of technology that enables surgical accuracy is the Image-Guided Operating System (IGOS). Introduced into the medical realm a few decades ago, the technology was predominantly based on the results of pre-operatively acquired computed tomography (CT) scans. The CT scan quality was such that internal patient conditions could clearly be discerned. Critical parameters that doctors favored included clear bone-tissue contrast. With a clear picture, a surgical plan could then be established.

Implementing new technologies that will enable surgeons to perform better procedures will require physical infrastructure changes and capital expenditure for implementation, strategic plans have to be put into place for hospitals to have these capabilities.

Advantages of Imaging Technology

With the utilisation of imaging technology, the advantages of VR are such that the interaction with the real and virtual worlds when diagnosing a patient, minimises the time of the treatment, via quickly identifying the best path forward. 

With the ability to see the problem much more clearly, orthopaedic specialists are actually able to learn while they work, and in some instances are able to generate new concepts or even devise a treatment method that may have never existed before. The utilisation of VR has resulted in minimised medical errors. 

Via the combination of digital techniques to provide pre-operative planning solutions orthopaedic quality of care is enhanced. As the cost of equipment is optimised, it is highly anticipated that VR applications will become more prevalent in medical training, as well as in general patient care. 

Article Reference:

Haleem A, Javaid M, Vaishya R, Khan IH. Virtual reality applications in orthopaedics. J Orthop Spine 2019;7:83-4

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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