Virtual reality in medicine

Virtual reality technology is used in one of the most important industries – medicine. In fact, it is used in teaching students practical skills, training staff for complex surgeries, for the rehabilitation of patients and the provision of psychological assistance.

Training of students and medical staff

Virtual reality opens up new opportunities for training students and healthcare professionals.

The technology makes medical practice more accessible and visual for interns and doctors. Virtual training allows us to see realistic models of human organs and use medical instruments and equipment for treatment. Immersed in virtual reality, students can perform medical manipulations and learn how to provide assistance in emergency cases. The technology helps experienced healthcare professionals prepare thoroughly for a complex procedure and reduce potential errors.

Patient rehabilitation

It has been scientifically proven that the use of virtual reality simulators in the rehabilitation of patients can relieve pain. The parts of the brain that are associated with pain – the somatosensory cortex and the insula – become less active in this case. Experiments show that virtual reality can even help patients endure some medical procedures without anaesthesia, such as treating patients with burns.

Research has also shown that VR can be used in the therapy of patients with disabilities. Amputees sometimes experience severe phantom pain that is difficult to treat with conventional methods. Virtual reality can help such patients. In a virtual environment, a person has the ability to do various actions with the help of a missing limb. The brain receives a signal that the amputated organ is present and the pain decreases.

VR technology is also successfully used in cognitive rehabilitation. Patients with brain injuries or diseases often have to re-learn simple daily activities. Reproducing everyday situations in a virtual environment helps patients practice them, moving on to more complex tasks each time. The program can capture the slightest progress of the patient at any time. At the same time, medical personnel have the opportunity to observe and evaluate the actions of the patient and his prospects for treatment.

Psychological help

VR helps people to recover from negative experiences. It is also one of the most effective ways to treat phobias. Virtual reality allows you to create an environment based on the psychological problem of a particular patient. In the VR environment, a person has the opportunity to experience unpleasant moments for him in order to learn how to cope with them. Visualisation of phobias in the virtual world helps to overcome phobias. A person can see the object of his fear and feel the same emotions as in real life, but at the same time he is aware that this is just an illusion. Confidence in his own safety gives him the strength to meet with his phobias   “face to face” and overcome them.v

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