How Can Virtual Reality Be Used in Medicine – Complete Guide with FAQs, Tips, & More

Can VR be used in medicine, and how?

Let’s find out.

How Can Virtual Reality Be Used in Medicine?

VR can be used by doctors to see inside the human body, revealing previously unseen parts of the anatomy.

One of the reasons why we dissected cadaver organs was because it was a norm for every medical student. Nowadays, however, we use 3D models instead of real specimens.

medicine

Applications of Virtual Reality in Medicine​

Virtual Reality (VR) is the term used for the combination of hardware and software that allow people to interact with computers through their senses.

The simulator is immersive and requires the use of special 3D goggles with a screen or gloves that give sensory feedback to allow the user to learn from experience in this simulated environment.

Virtual reality is used in

  • many areas of healthcare
  • medical training
  • Both doctors in training and medical school graduates
  • patient care
  • medical marketing
  • teaching people about a disease or health issue or process.

Medical Training

Medical education today focuses less on memorizing facts than on teaching students to think critically and solve clinical problems using evidence-based medicine.

This course includes both practical and theoretical knowledge. It covers topics including project management, team building, and leadership.

Feedback and Debriefing

Medical situations can be simulated using VR for students to experience them as they would in real-world scenarios. This is then used to provide feedback and debriefing so that students can learn from their mistakes.

Because they’re so inexpensive, VR systems and the fact faculty aren’t required to be present means that they’re accessible and broad-based.

Interior of the Human

VR can be used by doctors to view the inside of the human body, revealing previously unseen parts of the body. For example, students no longer dissect cadavers; instead, they use VR technology to learn about the human body.

Recreate

With computer graphic technology, we’ve been able to create realistic models of human anatomy. We can even train surgeons to perform procedures that would otherwise require real surgery.

Filmed

For example, real-world surgeries can first be filmed from different perspectives using high-end cameras and then combined with 3D computer graphics to allow students to operate in virtual reality.

Orthopedic Surgeons

Knowing how fractures occur and are exacerbated in real life is useful for orthopedic surgeons in their training.

Minimally invasive surgeries are of great benefit in reducing surgical costs, complications, and postoperative recoveries. Therefore, VR-based training for would-be laparoscopists is an extremely effective way of teaching them the necessary techniques.

American Board of Internal Medicine

Before attempting to treat patients, in reality, the American Board of Interna­tional Medicine (ABIM), which certifies physicians, declared the superiority of this kind of training since it had proven successful in imparting standardized instructions in invasive monitoring and mechanical ventilators.

Sensory Feedback

The same is true for learning to perform surgical procedures using VR technology, which has been shown to be both safe and effective, as well as cost-effective when compared to traditional methods.

Cost

Such VR environments, including the costs associated with them, may possibly be offset by having more people participate in each course.

However, the results of using VR are clear. More accurate knowledge results from its usage.

Treatment of Patients

VR is useful for planning complex surgeries before they happen, such as neurosurgeries, because it allows the surgical teams to walk through the entire procedure and practice their planned interventions.

This maximizes safety by minimizing surprises. The data is collected using CT, MRI, ultrasound, VR, and haptic technologies, which are supplemented by real-time 3D printing. The result is an accurate reproduction of the actual body part.

Surgical Robotics

Surgical robots depend on virtual reality (VR) technology for their operation. A robot arm is used to perform surgery inside the patient’s body. The doctor uses a remote control device to operate the robot from outside the body. The doctor relies on the camera placed inside the patient’s body to see where he/she is operating.

However, tactile and visual feedback is also important during surgeries, and an artificial simulation might provide a similar experience.

Mental Health Patients

People who suffer from mental disorders, including phobics, find virtual reality very useful, as do their therapists because they can recreate situations in their own centers to help them face them little by little.

PTSD is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Convenience and Privacy

Therefore, VR provides the practical benefits of on-site training, with progressive exposure therapy supplemented by the actual sensory experience of triggering situations to increase their effectiveness.

Coupled with the convenience and privacy offered by a therapist at far lower costs than traditional therapies, it can be done repeatedly as needed, in increasing order of complexity.

Pain Management

Virtual Reality (VR) is also used to relieve pain and help people recover from injuries. It has been shown to be helpful for people recovering from skin grafts, and burn wounds and making daily shots less painful for kids.

Immersive VR has proven effective at distracting and relieving pain for some patients who cannot tolerate anesthesia or sedatives.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

During physical therapy, virtual reality makes it easier for people to do their exercise routines.

Because the VR distracts patients’ attention away from their pain, they’re able to focus on something else instead.

Practice Specific Movements

Patients who are recov­ering from a stroke may be capable of practicing certain movement patterns without risking further injury by falling.

It will help them feel confident when they’re actually moving around in their real-world environment.

Addiction

Using medical VR for the treatment of substance abuse disorders involves gradually exposing patients to their addictions through VR environments.

Using the patient’s own environment in the simulation may be helpful for practicing resisting common stressors before being exposed to the actual trigger.

Health Education

When patients require a better understanding of their medical conditions, virtual realities provide them with a clear and detailed reconstruction of the relevant organs and tissues.

It helps patients understand the basic concepts of the treatment, so they feel better satisfied with their care.

The actual effects of some lifestyle practices and noxious chemicals on the human organism may also be best communicated through VR, such as the development of certain cancers, obesity, and related health issues and the impact of cigarette smoking or alcohol consumption on the lungs and livers, respectively.

Fitness

Virtual Reality has been used in numerous health apps to encourage people to exercise every day by turning it into something more fun.

They either gamify exercises, provide challenges and rewards, offer feedback on the movement, or simply make them more fun by immersing the person doing the exercises in a beautiful environment.

Marketing

Marketing is an important aspect of modern healthcare. VR allows doctors to share their knowledge and expertise with patients and patients to communicate their experiences without using language with their doctors, which enhances patient care and increases awareness of diseases.

Conclusion

VR is still in the early stages of development for medical applications. However, in the future, VR may be increasingly used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of surgical interventions, especially those which are minimal or non-invasive.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below.

Author

  • Victor Marquez

    Victor is the Editor in Chief at Techtyche. He tests the performance and quality of new VR boxes, headsets, pedals, etc. He got promoted to the Senior Game Tester position in 2021. His past experience makes him very qualified to review gadgets, speakers, VR, games, Xbox, laptops, and more. Feel free to check out his posts.

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