Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation for Hemicholectomy

Period of Performance: 08/25/1993 - 02/24/1994


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Immersion Medical, Inc.
55 West Watkins Mill Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Principal Investigator


The need for efficacious methods for surgical education is very important as new techniques of laparoscopic surgery are difficult to master. Several studies have indicated that the complication rates of laparoscopic surgery and conversion rates of laparoscopic to an open procedure are significantly reduced after a surgeon has performed approximately 15 procedures. The need for training is increasingly important as more complex procedures are performed laparoscopically. Surgical education has been accomplished in the past by a combination of observation, peer teaching, and practice on cadavers and animals. New technology, referred to as 'virtual reality, ' has already been employed in the airline industry and can likewise provide enriched educational experiences for physicians. To date, barriers involving the complexity and cost of modeling/simulating surgical procedures have precluded the use of this technology in medicine. High Techsplanations, Inc. (HT) has aggressively pursued the design of virtual reality systems for medical education. HT staff pioneered the first Apple Macintosh-based virtual reality surgical simulation and is equipped with a Silicon Graphics, Inc. RealityEngine-based graphics super-computer. HT's goal is to produce complete VR-based simulations at a reasonable price, allowing widespread distribution of these simulations to both institutions and individual physicians.