Virtual practice for surgical procedures

“HandsOn.surgery” offers surgeons virtual practice for a specific operation prior to surgery

© Fraunhofer IIS
“HandsOn.surgery” trainer: virtual bone with risk structures and surgical instrument.

Surgeons carry out very complex operations on bony tissue, such as cochlear implants in patients with damaged inner ears. To avoid causing injuries to delicate structures such as nerves or blood vessels and to make the surgery as gentle as possible, surgeons need comprehensive theoretical and practical education and specialist training together with many years of experience. To date, training opportunities have been limited to just a few specialized centers in Germany, making widescale training for operations impossible.

In the HaptiVisT project, we support the advanced training of surgeons through the development of a haptic-visual learning system for surgical procedures that can be used in both urban and rural hospitals to address the widespread shortage of medical specialists. Out of this project, the “HandsOn.surgery” virtual operation trainer was born. The virtual trainer supports physicians in their education and training and is designed to help minimize surgery time and the risk of injury.

With HandsOn.surgery, surgeons can practice individual procedures in oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthopedics and other areas before the actual operation using the patient’s digital twin – at any time, as often as they want, and with no risk. The surgery trainer enables doctors to see, feel and practice a virtual operation: Because it uses real CT patient data, force feedback from the surgical instrument, intuitive touchscreen selection and a 3D monitor or VR headset, the trainer lets doctors experience the operation as if they were performing it live on the patient, including original operating room sounds.

In the further course of the HaptiVisT project, the demonstrator is now due to be embedded in the educational concepts of our partners and will be evaluated at the 2019 HNO Congress in Berlin.

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019, (Grant: 16SV7559).

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