London hospital makes first 360 virtual reality film of brain surgery

London brain surgeons have launched the first ever 360 virtual reality (VR) film showing a patient undergoing surgery to treat life-threatening brain aneurysms.

The film offers a rare insight into the reality of neurosurgery and is published as part of The Royal London Hospital’s project Brainbook. It is the first film in a series of operations. Each key stage of the procedure is narrated by a consultant neurosurgeon and illustrated graphics give insight into the clinical decision-making. Mr Alex Alamri, Neurosurgery Registrar at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “I hope that Brainbook will demystify neurosurgery, making it accessible by inviting people to explore our operating theatres and ask questions about what they see. We want to help people get up close to experience what really goes on during operations.” The film can be accessed through the team’s Youtube and Twitter account and it has had positive feedback from students, patients and healthcare professionals. The neurosurgical team has been on Twitter discussing the videos and answering questions, with blog articles complementing the films. A number of head-mounted 360 HD cameras were used to capture scenes from the point of view of both the patient and surgery. The film was made with FundamentalVR, specialists in VR simulation and surgery training. Viewers initially experience being wheeled into the operating theatre as if they are the patient before becoming part of the medical team seeing through the eyes of the surgeon. Brainbook followers can see the intricate anatomy of the brain and the delicate nature of surgery. Chris Scattergood, co -founder of Fundamental VR, said: “Trainee surgeons can practice the key stages of the procedure in a safe virtual operating room, and actually feel in their hands the textures of all of the different tissue types using our FeelReal VR solution.” Mr Alamri added: "It would be great if we help inspire more junior doctors as well as young people considering careers in health professions. Of course, we couldn’t do this without the fantastic support of our patients to whom we are incredibly grateful." The first video was published in September to tie in with Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month. Research from the Brain Aneurysm Foundation shows a brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes, proving fatal in almost 40 per cent of cases. The film can be viewed on any Virtual Reality device such as Google cardboard, and will work via Youtube on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
Share page
Print page
Follow us