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WSU veterinarian aims to improve laparoscopic surgery using virtual reality

Before executing the procedures on actual patients, veterinary surgeons undergoing training for laparoscopic surgery may shortly be able to polish their abilities in a virtual reality simulator.

The very first virtual laparoscopic education programme for veterinary surgeons has been created by professor and veterinarian Boel Fransson of Washington State University in collaboration with a manufacturer of virtual reality simulators for contemporary clinical training. In a laboratory session at the yearly summit of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons on October 12 in Portland, Oregon, Fransson intends to present and evaluate a prototype of the programme and its content.

According to Fransson, the type of technology being uvsed in the VR offering has not been employed before and is quite cutting-edge. Although the benefit of these technologies is that they allow users the opportunity to improve by committing errors, Fransson said that it would be a challenging endeavour to make such mistakes in living animals.

Small-sized tubes are introduced into the abdomen of patients using a medical procedure known as laparoscopic surgery. By inserting slender and long instruments via the tubes and a small camera that provides footage to a display, surgeons may do operations without making a major incision.

In addition to more complex surgeries including adrenalectomies, gastropexies, cholecystectomies, and lung lobectomies, it is employed for simpler procedures like spays. Patients experience less discomfort and recover more quickly from laparoscopic operations than from conventional surgery.

Small Precise and tiny movements are necessary for the treatment to be safe and functional. This can be challenging for novice doctors who must learn to deal with a loss of spatial awareness, along with a restricted movement path. Yet, there are few options for veterinary surgeons to get training since only about a third of the facilities that educate surgical fellows to possess some of the most basic learning aids.

That has hardly been the situation at WSU. To assist surgeons in developing and refining the essential skills needed for the procedures, Fransson founded the veterinary laparoscopic instructional facility, known as the Veterinary Applied Laparoscopic Training laboratory, more than a decade back. In order to teach and evaluate veterinarians’ practical abilities, she also created the Veterinary Assessment of Laparoscopic Skills initiative.

According to Fransson, prior to opening the WSU laboratory, nobody was even practising fundamental skills.

With the new virtual reality programme, veterinarians will be able to simulate extensive laparoscopic procedures. Such simulations will encompass probable issues that could happen whilst surgeries are underway.

Fransson has been converting Surgical Science’s current human simulations for use in veterinary medicine and creating instructional curricula, comprising various resources including tutorial footage. These are available for a number of surgical processes via a partnership with the company.

According to Fransson, the VR offering is the most advanced simulation she has dealt with to date. She elaborated that it is capable of showcasing in-depth recreations of tissues and their activities, along with simulations of instruments used. She expressed that the training system can help to effectively teach surgeons how to carry out certain procedures.

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