Ohio medtech company Surgical Theater is partnering with UCLA neurosurgeons to incorporate virtual reality video game technology into 1 of its surgical visualization systems.
Financial details aren’t being discussed. But the University of California, Los Angeles Department of NeuroSurgery is working with the company to integrate the Oculus Rift with Surgical Theater’s SNAP 3D surgery navigation device. Final testing is underway now, and surgical evaluation of the system will begin in coming weeks.
Dr. Neil Martin, chairman of the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery, was to unveil the combined device – the Oculus Surgical Theater – at the American Assn. of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting, which began May 4 in Washington.
California tech company Oculus VR makes Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that lets the user jump into immersive gaming. SNAP, or Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform, uses a patient’s individual CT and MRI scans to build a virtual 3D brain to plot strategy for procedures such as brain tumor or aneurysm surgeries.
This is the 1st time that Oculus Rift is being used in medicine for brain surgery. The expectation is that it will add a significant advance to neurological surgeries because of the sophistication of its simulations.
"The sensation is tool real to be coined ‘virtual’ – you really need to convince yourself that it is not real, it feels very, very real," Surgical Theater CEO Moty Avisar
said in prepared remarks.
SNAP has had FDA clearance since 2013 and surgeons have used it nationally in more than 70 cranial cases, the company said.