A Cleveland neurosurgeon and two ex-Israeli Air Force R&D officers have teamed up to adapt flight simulation technology to surgical training, The Times of Israel reports.
They have developed an FDA-approved surgery rehearsal program called Surgical Theater, which enables doctors to undergo dry runs, of complex brain surgery before an operation.
“Me and [co-founder Alon Geri], we used to develop flight simulation for the Israeli Air Force, and we felt we needed to transfer our knowledge from building missile simulations and F-16 simulations to doing good for others and to cure,” Avisar, who spent 20 years overseeing large scale R&D flight simulator projects, told FoxNews.
Three years in the making, Surgical Theater utilizes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scans to create 3D models of patients’ brains that can be explored on a computer screen. Then, using joysticks that act as surgical tools, surgeons can go through the motions of the operations they will be performing. The system simulates actual surgey.
“When you’re virtually operating on a tumor, it really looks the same,” Avisar said. … It took us a while to see how realism translates to surgery.”
Additionally, users can input virtual clips or medical devices to see how they interact with tissues in the brain. And just like flight simulators, Surgical Theater can permit the remote connection of multiple platforms, so that medical professionals anywhere in the world can participate in the same procedure simultaneously.
To date, Surgical Theater has been used to prepare for more than 300 surgeries in the United States.