Towards the Development of a Virtual Reality Simulator with Haptic Force Feedback for Training in Stereotactic Brain Biopsies


Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, 2(3) 121-145

Laura Pérez-Pachón, Matthieu Poyade, Jennifer Brown, Val Fallon

Neurosurgery training traditionally follows the apprenticeship model of learning using supervised ‘hands-on’ skill acquisition in the operating theatre. With technological advancements in computer-generated images and interactive technologies, haptic-based virtual reality simulators have been shown to provide successful workbenches for realistic training in surgical procedures. The use of haptic force feedback in virtual reality simulates the tactile properties of tissues and surgical instrumentation manipulation, which increases the degree of realism for the ‘operating surgeon’ and enables the acquisition of surgical skills in a safe virtual learning environment. A pilot study was conducted whereby anatomical structures were modelled from medical datasets using segmentation algorithms and modelling platforms and applied as three-dimensional content to a haptic-based virtual learning environment of a stereotactic brain biopsy procedure. This has seen the creation of a prototype haptic-based virtual reality simulator which, with further development, may complement traditional neurosurgery training in stereotactic brain biopsies.

KEYWORDS: Haptics Surgical simulation; Neurosurgery; Stereotactic biopsy; Force feedback; Surgical training; Virtual reality