The Virtual Reality Surgery Simulator (VRSS) project aims to reduce the time and cost required to train surgeons by using virtual reality surgical simulation training in conjunction with remote real-time supervision of surgical trainees. Created by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers, physicians, and artists, the simulator is geared toward increasing access to surgical care in lower- and middle-income settings around the world.

Virtual Reality as an Effective Training Solution

The project utilizes an immersive VR simulation tool to help surgical trainees acquire the psychomotor skills, sensory acuity, and cognitive planning required to perform complex surgical tasks. Studies have shown that VR training can reduce the training time needed for a surgical novice to reach the skill level of an intermediately skilled surgeon by half. Similarly, studies have shown that VR-trained surgeons are much less likely to make errors than those who have completed standard training only. When combined with clinical training, virtual reality technology has the potential to significantly reduce the time and cost of achieving surgical proficiency in resource-constrained settings.

Reducing Costs to Expand Access

By using inexpensive, off-the-shelf VR equipment designed for use with consumer video games, the team has been able to reduce the unit cost of the simulator to less than $2,000 USD. This low cost makes it feasible to install surgery simulators in medical training facilities that could not previously afford them, thereby reducing the per-surgeon cost of surgical training.

Click through this site to learn more about the VRSS project and the problems it can address.

This project is funded with support from the Medical Research Council, UK and the Wellcome Trust.