In what is sure to change the medical education space forever, the world’s very first surgery will be filmed and streamed online using virtual reality. The colon cancer operation performed on a British man will be conducted by lead surgeon, Shafi Ahmed from London. Ahmed has been at the forefront of virtual reality surgery for some time now and is excited to be a part of what he believes could drastically change the way surgery is taught to medical students.
The patient, who will remain anonymous, is only described as a British man in his 70’s who is excited to have his surgery streamed online using this advanced technology.
“It showcases virtual reality for what it should be used for – education,” explained Ahmed, a consultant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s hospital. “This is a game changer and they can see if anything goes wrong how we react to it.”
The surgery will be streamed with a one-minute delay online on April 14th in partnership with Medical Realities and the live-streaming service Matavision. Those individuals with a smartphone and Google Cardboard or other VR enabling device will have access to the stream in 3D virtual reality. The delay will be put in place just in case something goes terribly wrong and they need to cut off the feed. While currently medical students can only watch videos of complicated procedures or be present in the operating room during the actual operation, this new technology should enable thousands of surgeons to get a first hand look from various angles and positions within the OR from afar. As for where Ahmed sees this technology eventually headed, he describes his vision in the quote below.
“What we want to do is actually create the virtual surgeon. You could have a patient in virtual reality, be able to pick up a scalpel, make a cut and do a virtual operation first before doing it for real. It’s also about immersing yourself in the environment and getting used to working with a team around you, what it sounds like around you, and so on. So VR is about so much more than just the wow factor of simply viewing.”
The surgery will last approximately two to three hours and if you are squeamish at all, you may want to avoid watching. Let us know your thoughts on this amazing new application for virtual reality in the VR Surgery forum on VRTalk.com.