Virtual reality to advance high-risk neurosurgery practice – The Standard Health
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) training in a hospital in Nairobi. [File, Standard]
Although virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are yet to gain wide acceptance, there is a significant opportunity for these technologies to improve neurosurgery.
Brain surgery is one of the most complicated practices and according to Dr. Mogere from Aga Khan University Hospital, the area can benefit from the most acute technological developments and regular literature updates.
“Neurosurgery is unique in all of healthcare. We benefit from the most demanding clinical conditions. We take care of the most complicated problems, often with disastrous results when things don’t go well. And also very rewarding when things go well.
This allows us to benefit from the latest technological developments. Whether it is the use of endoscopes, microscopes or phenomena such as catheter-based treatment, the use of advanced imaging or high-fidelity ultrasound, the use of neuronavigation software, which is like a GPS brain map that helps us know where we are just find time.
Because of that, this field is extremely dynamic, what was true last week often isn’t true this week,” said Dr. Mogere.
Neurosurgery is a high-risk, high-stakes specialty with little room for error.
This need has accelerated the adoption of technology in healthcare and demonstrates the critical role simulation will play in enhancing procedural knowledge and technical skills.
The UpSurgOn Neurosurgeon Program is a neuron simulation program, a training program designed to help young neurosurgeons become familiar with the anatomy of the brain.
In Africa it is difficult to get cadavers, which we traditionally used, but because of the cost and inaccessibility, we needed an alternative to allow students to learn the structure of the brain and this led to the Virtual- reality workshops.
dr Beverly Cheserem, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Associate Professor at Aga Khan Hospital, elaborated on the value of technology, cost and the quality of professionals that could emerge from this tech-savvy generation: “Kenya is the third neuron in Africa this year to simulate, a special project founded in Italy in which instead of corpses we use augmented and virtual reality. Kenya is at the forefront of technology in the region, so we can use our smartphones and we have people using virtual reality to simulate theater.
The value of this technology lies in its ease of setup. This is not an anatomy lab, this is a standard lab and we could have used any classroom, the modules came in a box and the participants came with their own phones.”
We have the most digitally savvy generation, so we learn the way most people live on a daily basis. This is what we need to learn, neurosurgery in particular is very technology intensive if you want to do good surgical practice.
That’s why we teach them all modern technologies, including neuronavigation, which increases the accuracy of their exercises.
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