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Doctors Train Using Brain Surgery Simulator

It's a great feeling knowing that doctors of today can load up simulators and practice virtual test runs before attempting surgery on real patients. 48-year-old Ellen Wright probably feels the same, as she was the first patient to benefit from virtual brain surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor. The Smiths Cove, Nova Scotia woman even had a chance to play around with her virtual brain after her neurosurgeon successfully removed the real tumor this week.

"A critical aspect of the virtual reality surgery is that we have a re-set button,” said David Clarke, the neurosurgeon who performed the delicate operation, “and I think this is a critical thing because we can do it as many times as it takes to get it right before we do the actual surgery."

As reported by NBC News (WEAU), the simulator actually constructs a virtual model of the patient's unique anatomical data, and even mimics the feeling of pulverizing and vacuuming up the embedded tumor. Naturally, this allows the surgeon to get the procedure right before digging into actual flesh. Unfortunately, this simulator isn't available in every hospital.

However, thanks to the successful trial run, prototype will now be sent off to teaching hospitals in five cities across Canada. Clarke's goal is to get Health Canada's approval so that the simulator can be sold to hospitals nationwide, perhaps around the globe.