Immersion delivers haptic medical simulation for minimally invasive stroke prevention procedure

San Jose 18 February 2009Immersion Corporation, a developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, has made available new carotid intervention training modules for its CathLabVR surgical simulator. The new modules provide multi-modal (sight, sound and touch) virtual reality training for carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS), a minimally invasive procedure performed to help prevent strokes. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Powered by Immersion's programmable high-fidelity haptic feedback, the modules provide lifelike simulation of an actual CAS procedure outside the operating room where doctors can practise and perfect their skills at this sophisticated technique prior to performing it on a live patient.

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"Realistic touch feedback is the future of medical simulation", stated Daniel Chavez, senior vice president and general manager of Immersion's medical line of business. "As newer, less invasive life-saving procedures become commonplace, the need for highly effective, lifelike training for these challenging procedures is rising. With our proven expertise in delivering world-class medical simulation solutions, Immersion is ready to meet that demand and help the medical community better prepare clinicians to save lives."

Approximately 800.000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke each year in the United States. Catheter-based endovascular procedures like carotid angioplasty and stenting can be the best approach to prevention for some at-risk patients. Yet these procedures require intensive training and many procedures to perfect. Haptic-enabled simulation gives clinicians the ability to learn and maintain these skills without the use of animals or human cadavers and without the cost or risk of training during an actual procedure.

Additionally, access to carotid stenting procedures is limited by the availability of clinical specialists who are trained in performing CAS and in using cerebral protection devices such as distal occlusive balloons and distal filter baskets, which are proven to significantly reduce the risk of post-operative strokes. The Immersion carotid module includes training in the use of these embolic protection devices.

For some patients, carotid angioplasty and stenting is a safer approach to stroke intervention than carotid endarterectomy, the traditional surgical treatment for carotid artery blockages which are the leading cause of strokes. Advantages include local instead of general anaesthesia, fewer potential surgical complications, shorter operations, shorter recovery times and the ability to treat arteries that are hard to reach.

Immersion's new carotid module is designed for its virtual reality interventional catheterization CathLabVR Surgical Simulator - formerly the Endovascular AccuTouch System, allowing clinicians to practise many types of endovascular procedures such as coronary and peripheral vascular interventions, cardiac pacing, and cardiac valve replacements.

Minimally invasive endovascular surgeries require careful attention to interpretation of fluoroscopic images as well as the subtle feel transmitted through guide wires, catheters, and other interventional devices. The CathLabVR virtual reality system, which simulates the look and feel of actual surgeries, helps clinicians to develop skills prior to performing on patients and to maintain those skills throughout their professional practice.

Benefits include Immersion's TouchSense patented force feedback technology integrated with visual and audio responses to replicate the look and feel of surgery; comprehensive physics-based virtual models that closely reproduce patient anatomy; SmartCapture tool recognition that enhances realism by automatically recognizing and responding to instrument insertion and removal; the ability to insert and rotate up to four instruments simultaneously, and real-time display of fluoroscopic and cine images to provide realistic rendering.

In addition, Immersion Corporation has named Steve Anderson vice president of product development for Immersion's Medical line of business.

"In our Medical line of business, the focus for 2009 is on execution and deepening customer relationships. Steve will be central to both strategic themes", stated Dan Chavez. "He is a strong senior leader with extensive technology expertise who will lead our global development teams in growing market share, improving customer experiences, and providing technology for the next generation of medical simulation. He will lead our efforts to build a new platform using the latest advances in software, hardware, and graphic simulation, supplying the new, full-fidelity health care educational experience."

Before joining Immersion, Steve Anderson served as vice president of Software Engineering at LeapFrog Enterprises. He was a technology leader at Electronic Arts serving in a variety of roles including vice president, Studio COO, Studio CTO, and director of Graphics Technology. Earlier in his career, he worked at Silicon Graphics, where he created technology and managed R&D teams for consumer graphics products. He holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in Computer and Information Sciences from The Ohio State University.

"Entertainment has always pushed the limits of 3D computer graphics and simulation technology. I see a unique and compelling opportunity to draw on my 24 years in gaming, computer graphics, and product development to help Immersion capture the unquestioned market demand in the medical simulation market", stated Steve Anderson.

Immersion designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based surgical simulation training systems worldwide. The medical and surgical simulators integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical simulations that help train clinicians. The company's key product lines are the Virtual IV system, Endoscopy AccuTouch simulator, CathLabVR surgical simulator, and LaparoscopyVR surgical simulation system.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognized expert in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Using Immersion's advanced touch feedback technology, electronic user interfaces are more compelling, entertaining, and in many applications, safer and more productive. Immersion's technology has helped manufacturers develop innovative and creative solutions for products such as hundreds of video games and leading video console gaming systems, medical training simulators installed around the world, driver controls for automotive manufacturers, and mobile phones, such as those from LG and Samsung. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 700 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More company news is available in the VMW May 2008 article Immersion Medical and GMV sign agreement for new virtual reality arthroscopy simulation system.


Source: Immersion Medical

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