Surgical Theater: A Surgeon’s Simulator

Surgical Theater: A Surgeon’s Simulator

Medgadget was invited to attend the US Ignite launch event this past Thursday at The White House, sponsored by the President’s Office of Science & Technology Policy. The purpose of US Ignite is to promote the development and adoption of “gigabit-ready digital experiences & applications.” While there, we had the opportunity to meet and interview the Surgical Theater team, including University Hospital Case Medical Center neurosurgeons Dr. Warren Selman (Medical Director) and Dr. Andrew Sloan, as well as co-founders Moty Avisar (President) and Alon Geri (VP Engineering).

At the White House event, Dr. Selman gave an excellent talk about the platform while Dr. Sloan demonstrated it. We caught up with them right after for this Medgadget exclusive interview:

Surgical Theater, whose slogan is “pre-living the future,” aims to revolutionize the way surgeons prepare for operations by enabling them to simulate the surgery on real patient data obtained through imaging studies. According to the press release, Surgical Theater’s main product offering is the Surgery Rehearsal Platform (SRP), which:

uploads and transforms medical images, such as CT and MRI scans of patients, into life-like, dynamic and interactive 3D models. The initial offering is targeted at brain aneurysm surgery, one of the most technically complex procedures a neurosurgeon performs. A cerebral aneurysm is a ballooning of a blood vessel in the brain that is often treated by microsurgical techniques involving the placement of a small titanium clip across the neck of the aneurysm.

Surgical Theater is working with Geomagic, whom we’ve covered before, to offer surgeons force feedback haptic technology while they practice operating. The release continues:

Holding a Phantom™ haptic stylus to operate as if they were holding a surgical instrument, the surgeon can “feel” the virtual tissues, note their reaction to different shaped surgical clips, feel the results of more or less pressure on the aneurysm, and practice different angles of insertion. By providing a realistic environment, it allows the surgeon to make critical decisions in advance, on an exact replica of the patient, in a ‘risk free’ virtual rehearsal environment.

The SRP evolved from a chance meeting in a Cleveland area coffee shop in 2009, between Dr. Selman and two former Israeli Air Force officers who had developed flight simulators for their country. Dr. Selman became intrigued with the idea of applying virtual reality to the realm of surgery, and a collaboration followed. Surgical Theater will begin a clinical trial of the SRP later this year and is placing units in various medical education institutions’ residency programs. Dr. Sloan is developing additional neurosurgical simulations for the SRP platform, such as the removal of benign and malignant tumors located in critical areas of the brain as well as microvascular decompression, pituitary tumors and acoustic neuroma surgeries.

More about the technology from Case Medical Center:

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