At the Imperial College London, future interventional radiologists are sharpening their biopsy skills by attending educational workshops that use a newly developed medical simulation. The cutting-edge technology, called the Microsoft HoloLens 2, operates through interactive holograms that allow junior trainees to practice using augmented reality headsets.
The comprehensive workshop provided trainees with several stations where they could practice simulations of image-guided needle biopsy. Trainees at HoloLens 2 simulation stations used the Merit CorVocet® Biopsy System to help create a combination of “real” and “virtual” elements. Other Merit biopsy needles were employed at additional hands-on ultrasound workshop stations.
The simulation was developed by a team of experts from Imperial’s Faculty of Medicine and Digital Learning Hub, a team that works with students and teachers to create innovative learning and teaching experiences using augmented reality and virtual reality. Its mission is to create interactive, challenging, and authentic digital education.
“By building the simulation in mixed reality, it not only allows for accurate imaging placement but also for crucial tactile feedback,” explained Mohamad Hamady, a professor in the department of Surgery & Cancer at the Imperial College London and part of the team that developed the simulation. “It’s constructed from real patient X-rays, and they are using real needles.”
Image-guided interventions, particularly those using computed tomography (CT) imaging, are traditionally taught using a mentored approach on real patients or in costly cadaver workshops.
“This app really demonstrates the potential of mixed reality to provide high-fidelity experience at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods. It is readily scalable, and I am sure will form part of the training for doctors in the future,” noted Dimitri Amiras, MBBS, BSc, a musculoskeletal consultant radiologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and part of the team that developed the simulation. “As technology improves this will not only change the way we train but also the way in which we perform procedures.”
As the field of interventional radiology evolves, and the number of complex procedures increases, new methods of teaching and learning—like simulation technology—are necessary.
“It’s unique that we’ve managed to create realistic images of the patient and biopsy needle together,” said Phillip Pratt, PhD, research fellow in the department of Surgery & Cancer at the Imperial College London and developer at the Digital Learning Hub. “This simulation is a great example of how mixed reality can help create learning environments that are interactive and challenging.”
Merit is proud to support medical training efforts with its high-quality products. Physicians of today and tomorrow can rely on these tools to learn new skills that will improve the lives of patients around the world.
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