Groundbreaking technology allows doctors and patients to look inside their own brains. “We can put on virtual reality goggles and fly through the skull,” said Dr. Walter Jean, a neurosurgeon at George Washington University Hospital.
Precision Virtual Reality, inspired by flight simulators used to train fighter pilots, offers a 3D view of the brain. “The best thing is that, without taking any more scans, without doing any fancy imaging study, using simply the MRIs and CTs that they already have, we can use that data and make everything into three dimensions,” Jean said.
It provides a realistic view of what is going on inside the skull that’s not possible with two dimensional MRIs or CT scans. Neurosurgery involves visualizing in the mind’s eye the geography of the brain, and Precision Virtual Reality helps surgeons in training see what’s actually inside the skull.
But it’s most beneficial to patients. “Last year in June took me by total surprise,” said Danielle Collins of Bethesda, Maryland.
”Monday rolled around, went to a Pilates class, and by the time I was in the class, I felt incredible sharp pain in the right side of my head It felt like someone took an ice pick and was jamming it through the right side of my head.” When the pain didn’t improve, Collins went to the emergency room. Some of the blood vessels connecting arteries and veins were tangled up in her brain.