BIOENGINEERINGAug 31, 2017

The Application of Virtual Reality Technology in Medical Field

With the aging of the population structure, the medical and health industry takes more and more attention on virtual reality (VR). VR industry also began to cross-border apply on the medical field.

VR in Treatment

Psychological experts state that VR technology can safely and effectively help the patients to focus on behavior, experience different self, and challenge the original hypothesis. Therefore, the use of VR technology in psychotherapy can effectively support the patients, and enhance the patients’ sense of self-efficacy in both inside and outsideconsulting scene.Psychiatrists at the University of Louisville used VR to help patients overcome fear and treat claustrophobic patients.


In addition, doctors can disperse patients’ attention by VR to relieve the pain. The University of Washington has introduced a VR video game called SnowWorld, in which patients can throw snowballs to the penguins and listen to Paul Simon's music. By inhibiting and hindering the pain pathway in the brain, this game helps patients to reduse pain in the course of threatment. This technology can be applied to wound care and physical therapy. In a 2011 study conducted by the military, SnowWorld showed better results in pain relief than morphine for soldiers who get burned.


VR in Medical Training

In the past, doctors had opportunities to practice surgery on patients. Now VR is used to simulate the virtual surgery scene to help students learn the surgical procedures. The simulation training can be repeatable and set up various possible situations. In fact, the simulation training is one of the ways to protectpatients. The Stanford University’s surgical simulators can even provide tactile feedback to surgical trainers. The endoscopic sinus surgery simulator at Stanford University uses a CT scan of the patient to create a three-dimensional model for the trainer to simulate surgery.

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