Florida Hospital Tampa Integrates Virtual Reality Into Surgical Planning and Patient Education

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Tampa, FL (October 25, 2016) Florida Hospital Tampa is now offering a breakthrough technology that produces three-dimensional virtual reality (VR) models of a patients brain. Florida Hospital Tampa's Surgical Reality program allows neurosurgeons and patients to see inside the body with a precision never before available. Using the same advanced VR technology used in military flight simulators, Surgical Reality combines magnetic resonance (MR), computerized tomography (CT) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) scans of patients to provide personalized, three-dimensional views of their brain tumor or aneurysm. Access to this technology was made possible by the Florida Hospital Tampa Foundation, whose goal is to ensure the most innovative and groundbreaking technologies, equipment and resources are available for the Tampa Bay community.

Virtual reality is being used in many areas such as military training simulations, video, gaming and entertainment, says Brian Adams, President and CEO of Florida Hospital Tampa. We are excited to be among the first hospitals to apply this technology to patient education and planning. It provides our patients with an entirely new perspective for understanding their diagnoses at a time when they're making the most difficult medical decisions of their lives. It gives family members confidence in knowing our surgeons are planning and executing with an unmatched level of precision; and it gives our neurosurgeons another tool to perform the most delicate, life-saving procedures.

Florida Hospital Tampa has partnered with Surgical Theater, a trailblazer in the field of medical virtual reality imaging, to bring VR medicine to the Tampa Bay area. One of only a select few hospitals in the world with access to this innovative method of surgical planning and patient education, Florida Hospital Tampa is the first in the southeastern United States to use this technology. Surgical Theaters Precision VR allows patients to see their brain tumor or aneurysm the way the neurosurgeon sees it. The surgeon can walk inside the surgical plan to a 360-degree model of the patients own specific anatomy and diagnosis to give patients and families an intuitive understanding they need to make complex medical decisions.

It is an honor for Surgical Theater to work with the surgeons, physicians and medical professionals at Florida Hospital Tampa, and a privilege to deliver this vital VR imaging technology to their patients, said Jim Breidenstein, President and COO of Surgical Theater, SNAP Division. Research shows this technology is game-changing. It has quickly become essential for surgical planning and navigation. Plus, it's a powerful communication tool that enables shared decision making while establishing a universal language for patients of all ages and their families as they grapple with a serious diagnosis and surgical procedure.

Surgical Reality allows neurosurgeons to plan and execute surgeries on Surgical Theaters Precision VR platform before entering the operating field. Being able to see inside the body in a detailed, 360-degree immersive virtual environment allows surgeons to plan surgeries more precisely and efficiently, which can optimize safety and improve outcomes.

"The difference between the flat MRI scans we typically show patients and Surgical Reality is amazing," says Raul Olivera, MD, neurosurgeon. "Not only is the image quality substantially better, but because this is a digital 3D model of the patient's brain, we have a personalized view where we can show them the size and exact location of a tumor or a vascular abnormality, along with the surrounding structures. This gives them a better understanding of the surgical approach, the extent of their surgery, complications that may arise, and potential options."

The Virtual Reality Difference

Surgical Theaters Precision VR platform combines data from CT, MR and DTI scans to create an immersive, full-color, three-dimensional model of a patients anatomy. The reconstructed scans allow physicians to detail their patients' pathologies in ways never before possible. This technology offers a game-changing improvement over the conventional method where the surgeon points out a tumor or abnormality on flat, black-and-white 2D images, which are used in most medical facilities. Surgical Reality models can be viewed on a dedicated high-definition monitor, a tablet, or by using virtual reality goggles, where patients can view their scans in an immersive, totally VR experience.

VR in the OR

With Surgical Reality, surgeons can plan their surgical procedures in advance using intricately detailed models of their patients' anatomy. It allows neurosurgeons to better visualize a path to the tumor or aneurysm, as well prepare for abnormalities that might cause issues during surgery. Precision VR also is integrated into the operating rooms at Florida Hospital Tampa through the innovative Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP). This allows surgeons efficient and immediate access to Surgical Reality's detailed models during surgery.

SNAP technology has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to transfer traditional imaging scans into medical virtual reality reconstructions. While Florida Hospital Tampa is launching the technology in neurosurgery, the hospital is partnering with Surgical Theater to explore additional areas that virtual reality can benefit. Florida Hospital Tampa joins other prestigious medical facilities in the United States to offer Surgical Theaters VR technology, including Stanford University, UCLA, Mount Sinai, and Mayo Clinic.

For 360 VR videos of Surgical Reality models, visit the 360 video playlist on the Florida Hospital Tampa YouTube page. These videos require a VR viewer such as Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Olivera, call Call813-396-9924.

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