Developing a surgical simulation to reduce patient risk

€1.4 million of funding from the European Union is helping Cardiff University scientists to develop virtual reality technology to train surgeons.


Scientists and engineers at Cardiff University are creating a highly realistic virtual environment where surgeons can train to carry out vital medical procedures which will reduce the risk to patients in operating theatres around the world.

Surgeons undergo extensive training but because some health conditions are encountered far less often in real life there are some skills which receive less attention than others. To overcome this problem, world-class researchers from across Europe are aiming to reproduce the audio, visual and haptic experience of surgery in an entirely virtual environment. This will enable both trainee and experienced surgeons to practice surgery and build their skills and knowledge safely and repetitively.

Until now attempts to develop a virtual training environment for surgeons have been unable to reproduce the feel and sense of human organs, trainee surgeons have claimed that virtual environments are simply not up to the task. But, working alongside academics from the University of Luxembourg in the field of computational mechanics and input of exerptise from INRIA – the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, Cardiff researchers hope to address the problems of accurately recreating the sense and feel of live surgery. The technology could then help to reduce the risk to patients on the operating table during complicated surgery.

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