Medical Imaging

Virtual Reality in Medicine and Surgery

Virtual reality is an advanced technology that can transform medicine, surgery, and other allied health disciplines.

Virtual reality (VR) has revolutionized the way medical professionals interact with medicine and surgery scenarios. It allows for creating three-dimensional immersive displays and understanding medical and healthcare procedures, which were not possible previously.

Advanced medical applications affect all facets of healthcare disciplines and processes, from learning gross anatomy and patient-centred pre-operative planning to surgical techniques and intra-operative guidance.

In addition, VR simulation has streamlined diagnostic mechanisms and therapeutic approaches in medicine, surgery, psychology, pain management, and rehabilitation. Let us give you some details. Read on!

Three Dimensional Anatomy

Three-dimensional anatomy is the most significant benefit of virtual reality simulations. The value of three-dimensional depiction or replication of relevant anatomies is obvious. Medical professionals use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and other tools to obtain images. However, these machines produce two-dimensional cross-sectional images and planes. Even when 3D reconstruction of the nervous system (particularly the brain) is done the images are generally viewed on a 2-D monitor.

On the other hand, immersive holographic virtual reality and augmented reality technologies allow professionals to display patients’ anatomy three-dimensionally, leading to increased efficiency and accurate data analysis.

Virtual reality has made substantial inroads in medicine, surgery, and healthcare such as procedure training, pre-operative planning, and therapeutic interventions. Medical & healthcare professionals and students increasingly use VR simulation diagnostic tools because they can help you make informed decisions by analyzing data from VR and other methods like MRIs. So, not only does this improve drug therapies, but it also eliminates the need for invasive procedures.

The 3D aspects of the image allow surgeons to plan and improve the procedure’s accuracy and outcomes. Safety is another benefit provided by VR in practicing medicine and performing surgeries.

Psychological Therapy and Rehabilitation

Virtual reality has become an integral part of psychological therapies and rehabilitation medicine. Health professionals use VR technology to identify the cause of acute and chronic pain by streamlining the pain perception process. Medical & healthcare students can benefit from the technology in the same manner.

The immersive simulation also benefits patients because it distracts their attention from the procedure and stimulus that can trigger discomfort and pain. So, VR technologies can help optimize distraction interventions for health professionals, leading to increased pain tolerance for patients.


Telemedicine has gained more popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Health professionals can streamline telemedicine and telehealth procedures by treating patients from remote locations thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality. At the same time, VR technologies combined with web programming facilitate students in distant learning.  

The fundamental goal of telehealth or telemedicine is to share medical information and provide adequate care to patients based on the analyzed data. So, virtual reality can improve how medical professionals view medical information.

Remember, the immersive environment and user-friendly interface allow professionals to communicate with patients effectively. Moreover, patients feel as if they are physically present during the interaction via VR-based telemedicine technology.

Virtual Reality (VR Simulation)

Research shows that previously most medical students or surgeons must perform at least ten surgeries to achieve proficiency in a new procedure. However, surgical techniques have increased complexity, and today, most surgeons must practice at least 50 or more cases to improve surgical skills. Still, 30% of graduating surgery residents can’t operate autonomously, reliably, and professionally.

Simulators are an excellent way to practice surgery skills. However, high-fidelity simulators like mannequins are expensive and may not simulate multiple procedures. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) simulators have transformed the medical education system.

For instance, it makes surgical practice more accessible, effective, reliable, and affordable because all a student needs are a headset and motion controller to practice surgery. In addition, VR simulators are portable, easy to use, and cost-efficient, meaning students can use them anytime, anywhere.

According to IXR Labs, medical students, including surgery residents, who use VR-based simulation training can complete surgical procedures 20% faster than those who use the traditional methods. Likewise, trainees using VR simulation perform surgeries 38% more efficiently and reliably.

Therefore, we recommend medical institutions implement VR-based training programs to reduce errors, allow students to have immersive and realistic experiences, and improve their surgical skills.

Final Words

Virtual reality has numerous medical applications, such as viewing a patient’s anatomy three-dimensionally, interacting with artificial medical scenarios to improve practice and perform surgeries in a virtual environment.

The opportunities are endless for health professionals and medical students. So, virtual reality will dominate the medical field in the future by benefiting everyone, including students, health professionals, and patients. 

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