WSU Vet Brings Virtual Reality to Laparoscopic Surgery - WSU Insider

WSU Vet Brings Virtual Reality to Laparoscopic Surgery – WSU Insider

Veterinary surgeons trained in laparoscopic surgeries could soon hone their skills in a virtual reality simulation before even performing the procedures on living patients.

Boel Fransson, a veterinarian and professor at Washington State University, worked with a provider of virtual reality simulators for human medical training to develop the first virtual laparoscopic training program for veterinary surgeons. Fransson plans to demonstrate and test a draft version of the program and his program during a lab session at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons’ annual surgery summit on October 12 in Portland, Oregon.

“We haven’t had that kind of technology – it’s a game-changer,” Fransson said. “The beauty of these systems is that they give you the opportunity to make mistakes, and you will make mistakes when you first learn, but we don’t want those mistakes to happen in a living animal.”

Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique in which short, narrow tubes are inserted into the abdomen through small incisions. A tiny camera that transmits video to a monitor and long, thin instruments are inserted into the tubes, allowing surgeons to perform surgeries without the need for large incisions.

It is used for simple surgeries like sterilizations and more advanced procedures like gastropexies, lung lobectomies, cholecystectomies and adrenalectomies. Compared to traditional surgeries, laparoscopic procedures result in less pain and faster recovery for patients.

To be effective and safe, the procedure requires precision and small movements, which can be challenging for inexperienced surgeons who must adapt to a loss of depth perception and limited range of motion. However, training opportunities have been limited for veterinarians, as only about a third of facilities training surgical residents have even basic training equipment.

At WSU, this has not been the case. In 2008, Fransson established the first veterinary laparoscopic training laboratory – the Veterinary Applied Laparoscopic Training Laboratory – to help surgeons develop and practice the basic skills needed for the procedures. She also developed the Veterinary Laparoscopic Skills Assessment program for the training and practical skills assessment of veterinarians.

“Before I started the lab at WSU, nobody was doing even basic training,” Fransson said.

The new virtual reality program goes one step further and will allow veterinarians to simulate entire laparoscopic procedures, even potential complications that may arise during surgeries.

Through a temporary partnership with Surgical Science, Fransson adapted the company’s existing human simulations for veterinary medicine and developed a training program, including video tutorials and other educational materials, for specific surgeries.

“It’s the best simulation I’ve worked with,” Fransson said. “It can simulate tissue and tissue behavior, instrument behavior, which opens the possibility of not only training basic skills, but also training surgeons in surgery.”

There are currently some limitations with the program, including the fact that the virtual components use human anatomy. Fransson started with surgeries involving organs and areas in which humans and dogs are anatomically similar — like the gallbladder — but she hopes dog anatomy will eventually be simulated.

Current hardware and software costs will also be a primary barrier to widespread adoption of the program.

“It’s a very expensive technology,” Fransson said, “but ultimately it really benefits the animals. Going forward, every surgery we do, we should have this kind of training so that vets can hone their skills. skills.

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