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Cool Things

A (Virtual) World of Surgical Experience?

Residents gain practice through simulated operations

Practice makes perfect, so orthopedic residents at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York are testing surgical skills using virtual reality before they perform them on live patients.

VR simulation can allow residents to gain more practice with a wider variety of procedures than they might with more costly methods, such as operating on artificial bones. HSS is testing the usefulness of these simulations as extra experience before residents begin traditional practice operations.

While virtual reality can have benefits for training, 4th year resident Dr. Cynthia Kahlenberg notes that real-world experience remains valuable: “Every human knee is a little bit different…[VR] has potential to be helpful in the future, but it has a long way to go.”

Read more about virtual reality’s use in medical schools in Crain’s New York Business.