Rush OB/GYN residents to practice surgical skills using virtual reality

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Obstetrics and gynecology residents at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will begin using a virtual reality system later this summer to practice surgical procedures, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The VR system will allow students to practice standard procedures on the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes using a joystick or other surgical tool while viewing a virtual patient on a screen.

The students will be able to practice on their own time without supervision and gain confidence in doing the procedures. The VR technology will alow them to practice as many times as it takes to get it right.

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“We’ll be able to practice everything from basic concepts to full surgeries and receive feedback in real-time,” fourth-year resident Michelle Beck tells the Sun-Times. The system scores competency, including efficiency of movement and time it took to complete tasks.

Residents previously practiced on female pigs. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is splitting the $12,000 cost of the training module with Rush in return for an agreement to eliminate any use of animals in the OB/GYN residency program.

The module is part of a $75,000 simulation system funded by the Washington Square Foundation and Rush’s philanthropy department.

As more medical training includes practice on simulators, the market is expected to be worth $1.9 billion by 2017, according to MarketsandMarkets.

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