Interactive virtual reality environment transforms surgical group collaboration and education

Princeton 20 November 2006A breakthrough in neurosurgical collaboration and education using virtual reality technology was unveiled at the 56th Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) 2006 Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Neurosurgeons utilize the Dextrobeam technology to discuss patient-specific surgical approaches with full detail and interactivity. Dextrobeam is a virtual reality environment with the power to transform multi-disciplinary group collaboration and medical education. Dextrobeam projects multi-modality, patient-specific CT, MRI and PET/SPECT images as Volumetric Interactive 3D objects. It provides neurosurgeons, radiologists, specialists and educators with virtual reality 3D images - on the large screen - allowing groups to gain a far deeper understanding of complex anatomical relationships.


"With this technology, we are using virtual dissection of a patient's anatomical images to expand visualization, deepen understanding and speed learning. We have opened a new era of advancement and expansion in neurosurgical education", stated Dr. Saleem I. Abdulrauf, Director, Cerebrovascular and Skull Base Surgery Programme, Division of Neurosurgery at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Secretary, World Federation of Neurological Societies.

Dextrobeam was introduced at the largest CNS meeting to date, with more than 3000 medical attendees. Neurosurgeons and medical professionals had the opportunity to see how the Dextrobeam technology enables clinicians and academics to walk together through surgery step-by-step. Viewers watch the screen in stereoscopic 3D as an expert neurosurgeon takes the audience inside the patient's virtual anatomy by means of the Dextrobeam's unique interactive interface. The interface allows the use of both hands to explore, manipulate and interact with any plane, any volume or segmented object, any way desired.

"Residents and physicians-in-training can use their fund of knowledge in an innovative way. By applying virtual dissection in the setting of real pathology through the use of actual cases, all clinicians can see the surgical field prior to entering the operating room", stated Dr. Charles J. Prestigiacomo, Director, Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Dextrobeam can dramatically advance collaboration and education by taking an entire group closer to reality than was ever available before. In a small conference room or a large theater, Dextrobeam provides the unparalleled ability to interactively examine diagnostic findings, explore and evaluate surgical options, pathways, and plan, review and document the surgical approach.

The system was developed by Volume Interactions, a Singapore-based developer of high-tech solutions for medical applications, specifically neurosurgery and advanced diagnostics, which is part of the Bracco Group. Volume Interactions Pte. Ltd. develops highly interactive stereoscopic 3D visualization systems for neurosurgical and interventional planning, advanced diagnostics and medical education. Based on proprietary virtual reality technology, the Dextrobeam allows physicians to analyse 3D multi-modality imaging data with speed, comfort and precision. Volume Interactions provides synergistic solutions to the imaging technologies of the Bracco Group.

The Bracco Group is a global provider in diagnostic imaging, with net sales of about 800 million euro per year. Bracco has operations in 115 countries and about 2100 employees, around 300 of whom work in R&D. Bracco invests approximately 15 percent of its annual turnover in R&D and has a portfolio of 1500 patents worldwide.

The Bracco Group is an expert in the diagnostic imaging market with an integrated product offering from a diverse roster of subsidiary companies. While Bracco is recognized internationally as a definitive market leader in its core business of contrast media, Bracco also markets key diagnostic imaging resources through the following companies: ACIST Medical Systems, a manufacturer of advanced contrast media injection systems and Singapore-based Volume Interactions, which also produces advanced 3D medical software.

Bracco also operates a high-level international research network, with three centres in Ivrea, Geneva, and Princeton. These centres develop products of the latest-generation diagnostic techniques, from X-ray and computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), echocontrast and nuclear medicine.

Leslie Versweyveld

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