Virtual reality brain surgery centre launches

Brain surgery patients could receive better care thanks to the opening of a new virtual reality surgical centre training facility at Toronto Western Hospital.
Neurosurgeons will be able to rehearse brain surgery specific to a patient in a new virtual reality simulator. (David Gray/Reuters)

Brain surgery patients could receive better care thanks to the opening of a new virtual reality surgical centre training facility at Toronto Western Hospital.

The centre is a leap forward in surgical training and patient care that allows physicians to train on simulated brain tumours and rehearse more complex surgeries tailored to each patient, said Dr. Robert Bell, president and CEO at University Health Network.

"This breakthrough technology is a significant leap forward in surgical educaton and training and in patient care and safety," Bob Dechert, MP for Mississauga-Erindale, said at the opening.

The goal is to reduce the risk of complications during surgery, speed up recovery and streamline time in the operating room, according to the National Research Council Canada, which developed the technology. 
Bob Dechert practices virtual reality brain surgery at Toronto Western Hospital. (CBC)

The first virtual reality neurosurgery training centre in Canada was opened at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University in September 2010.

The Montreal and Toronto facilities are two of seven new virtual training centres to be established across the country in London, Winnipeg and Calgary. Centres already exist in Halifax and Ottawa.