What you need to know:
– Smile Train and BioDigital introduced a virtual reality (VR) platform for cleft surgery for the first time at the IMSH conference in Orlando, Florida.
– The platform uses a “metaverse operating room” to simulate surgery cleft lip and palate, a common birth defect that occurs during pregnancy when the baby’s lips and mouth are not formed properly. This condition can cause difficulty in breathing, eating, and speaking. Cleft lip and palate can be fatal if left untreated.
Expanding the scope of surgery using augmented virtual reality
The Virtual Surgery Simulator (VSS) VR extension is a brand new technology that brings surgeons from around the world into a virtual operating room and allows them to collaborate. This new VR platform not only supports safe surgery and better outcomes for cleft patients, but also moving forward health equity all over the world. The technology aims to provide cost-effective education to medical professionals worldwide and close the gap in access to life-saving surgical care. Surgery is an important component of effective health care, but only 6 percent of the 313 million surgeries performed worldwide each year are performed in the world’s poorest countries, home to more than a third of the world’s population. Approximately 5 billion people lack access to safe, affordable, and timely surgical and anesthesia care.
There are several features that make this technology unique among VR platforms, including:
– A a multi-user experience that feels like being in a virtual operating room, Clinicians can practice remotely in the operating room, even if in a separate location (Cleft Learning Center);
– An adaptive methodology other organizations, medical team leaders, and even non-specialties can use a similar approach to simulate emergency care and best practice training;
– A A network of focused cleft practitioners who want to use this technology. Launched today, the VR extension builds on the existing Smile Train Virtual Surgery Simulator (VSS), a 2012 free web and mobile app accessible surgical simulator that provides cleft lip and palate repair instruction from the world’s leading surgeons. In the first 11 years, the original VSS has provided healthcare professionals in 141 countries with important information on cleft lip and palate anatomy and surgical techniques for cleft palate repair, and the new VSS VR extension will further improve surgeons’ ability to practice and perform this surgery safely;
– Five modules already produced (four anatomical tours including unilateral and bilateral lips, part of the response to patients with obstructive airways) and other modules currently under development;
– Ability to draw on surfaces to show surgical markings;
– Simulated steps (Airway Obstruction Module) that guide the clinician through steps to save the patient’s life in the event of an adverse event;
– Guided tour of cleft anatomy, comparing normal anatomy with bilateral and unilateral anatomy; and
– The VR system will use the world’s largest 3D surgical cleft library
“The Virtual Surgery Simulator VR expansion represents the future of surgical training in the world,” said Anne Arnold, Smile Train’s Senior Director of Education and Training. “Technology allows surgeons and surgeons to have next-level access to training. For example, if the residency program director has a resident who has returned to his hometown, both may continue to see a senior surgeon who provides hands-on instruction remotely. Ultimately, patients, families and communities will benefit most from safer surgeries and improved access to care.”