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True to Life: Surgical Training Using Virtual Reality

17.11.2008 - (idw) Fraunhofer-Institut für Rechnerarchitektur und Softwaretechnik FIRST

Surgeons need to adopt new techniques to enable them to perform gentler, minimally invasive surgery. Fraunhofer FIRST has been assisting KARL STORZ GmbH & Co. KG in developing the TUR simulator, a virtual reality trainer for minimally invasive urological surgery. From 19 to 22 November 2008, visitors to the MEDICA fair in Düsseldorf will have the opportunity to see for themselves how realistic the system is by calling at the KARL STORZ stand (Hall 10C, Stand 22). Minimally invasive surgery is becoming increasingly popular because such keyhole operations reduce patient recovery times - and thus the length of hospital stays. However, video-guided endoscopic surgery poses new challenges for surgeons. They must learn to use a camera image to examine the relevant organs and to distinguish between diseased and healthy tissue without direct visual or tactile contact. Developed by KARL STORZ since 2002 in direct cooperation with Fraunhofer FIRST on the basis of an EU research project, the TUR simulator enables urological surgeons to learn minimally invasive techniques. Using virtual reality, the physicians can practise different surgical situations in real time and thus improve their surgical skills. A statistics module shows learning success - blood loss and tumour removal being evaluated, for example.

The TUR (transurethral) simulator is specifically designed for urological surgery performed via the urethra. Beginners can initially use the simulator to familiarize themselves with the relevant anatomy and try out the handling of the instruments. More experienced surgeons can practise surgical procedures such as transurethral resection, in which diseased tissue is removed from the bladder or prostate gland.

The surgical situation is simulated as realistically as possible: organs and tumours are visualized three-dimensionally. The image of all the required instruments and the functionality of the endoscopic camera have been integrated into the system. Surgeons can choose from a variety of views featuring different perspectives in order to gain an integral picture of the surgical situation. Haemorrhaging and blood loss are realistically simulated. As in real-life surgical procedures, the bleeding can be stopped using various instruments such as a laser or a ball electrode. If a haemorrhage is overlooked or the bleeding cannot be stopped, visibility deteriorates and the surgeon must "virtually rinse" the part he or she has just been operating on. Even the haptic sense is simulated by means of so-called force feedback: the surgeon is able to feel with his or her hand if the instrument being used touches the wall of the bladder.

To allow surgeons to practise a wide range of surgical situations, a "patient creation module" was developed that generates different virtual patient profiles. The "session manager" offers the user a number of different types of tumours, enabling the urologist to constantly confront new situations in a virtual training environment.

The support provided to KARL STORZ by Fraunhofer FIRST focused on the realistic visualization of the organs, the integration of the force feedback feature, fluid simulation in real time and the visualization of the user interface.

At the MEDICA fair, Fraunhofer FIRST will be presenting other projects at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's stand (Hall 10, Stand F05). More detailed information on the exhibits "Vital Software Quality" and "Dialysis Appointment and Resource Planning" is available at: http://www.first.fraunhofer.de/event/medica08


We will be happy to comply with your request for graphical material. Further information is available from:

Press contact Fraunhofer FIRST:
Mitra Motakef-Tratar
Referee Corporate Communications
Tel.: +49 (0)30/ 6392-1814
E-Mail: mitra.motakef-tratar@first.fraunhofer.de

Press contact KARL STORZ:
Petra Grathwohl
Head of Marketing Urology Europe
p.grathwohl@karlstorz.de
Weitere Informationen: http://www.first.fraunhofer.de/en/home
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