Medical VR consists of the reproduction of a type of images that provide the user with an experience very close to the real thing, thanks to a set of technological devices.

Through glasses and other accessories, such as gloves or headphones, the spectator is immersed in a fictitious world, experiences physical or sensory reactions and can become the protagonist and actor of what he is visualizing.

What virtual reality is and how it is applied in Medicine

Virtual reality is a technology that was born in the second half of the last century, and which initially expanded into the world of leisure and entertainment, but now has transcended to other fields, such as marketing, education, physics or medicine.

Surgery, for example, has found a great ally in virtual reality. There have already been cases in which the training of surgeons in virtual reality seemed to reduce the duration of surgery and improve the surgical performance of surgeons.

Application of virtual reality in the clinic

Different initiatives have brought virtual reality to the clinic. They have done so using virtual reality for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teams have used hyperrealistic environments to increase patient concentration, a mixture of mindfulness and virtual reality.

In other cases, new educational intervention tools have been implemented for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Through three groups of video games, the child interacts with others, with their educators or with their parents to learn a series of key skills for their development.

There are many advantages in converting a classroom or host room into an environment prepared for virtual reality. This space will make it possible for younger patients to travel to imaginary or very distant worlds, such as the bottom of the ocean or other galaxies.  In this way, the aim is to encourage patients during their stay in the hospital and to reduce their anxiety when they receive treatment during their admission, thus favouring their recovery.

Given the unstoppable rate of growth of ideas and technique, there is no doubt that in the coming years, the field of medicine will have in virtual reality an inseparable travel companion.

Advantages of Virtual Reality in the field of medicine

Training of medical students 

Modern medicine stands out for its multidisciplinary teamwork and complex decision-making.  These aspects force medical professionals and students to continue their training, since they will have to face new problems and will have to give adequate answers to the needs of the patient. 

The new technology makes it possible to unite robotics with virtual reality, achieving a scenario very similar to the real one.  In the first place, a simulation of skills is carried out with mannequins, which have organs or complete parts of the human body.  This system allows students to acquire manual skills, recognize the structure of the organs and also learn to use different equipment such as the defibrillator.

Virtual reality surgery operations

Virtual reality can also be adapted to the field of surgery. With the help of 3D programmers and modelers, the patient’s anatomy can be accurately reproduced, with the intention of practicing the operation before carrying it out.

Through the use of this technology, the costs of using corpses and animals in teaching and surgery would be reduced, practice with real patients would be avoided, training would be repeated as many times as desired, greater experience would be offered in pathologies and complications, there would be greater specialization in each patient or the risk of the operation and postoperative treatment would be analyzed with greater accuracy.

Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s is a disease that has no cure. There are virtual reality techniques that can help patients regain cognitive abilities. They are done by reproducing images from the past.

The aim of this system is to enhance the patient’s concentration and improve their attitude, since apathy or lack of concentration are problems that derive from this disease. These methods are carried out through the reproduction of events, experiences or family gatherings that can stimulate the patient’s memory.

Simulation for medical training

In the field of medicine, simulators are also being developed for the training of new doctors. The aim is for students to test their knowledge and develop their skills by recreating specific situations. With these simulators, future doctors will be able to train themselves facing real situations without the risk of endangering the patient.

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