Mastrangelo MJ Jr, Adrales G, McKinlay R, George I, Witzke W, Plymale M, Witzke D, Donnelly M, Stich J, Nichols M, Park AE. Inclusion of 3-D computed tomography rendering and immersive VR in a third year medical student surgery curriculum. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2003;94:199-203

PMID: 15455893


Computed tomography (CT) scans are frequently used for preoperative evaluation of patients undergoing complex surgery and are therefore commonly encountered by medical students on their surgical rotations. Interpretation of these CT scan images is therefore an integral component of all medical students' surgical rotations. Additionally, advanced rendering available from modem scanners and registration of multimodal or serial scans require the student to understand how volumetric anatomy relates to cross-sectional anatomy. The utility of three-dimensional (3-D) models for conveying surgical anatomy has been demonstrated. Immersive 3-D VR overcomes many of the conceptual limitations encountered when conveying or teaching 3-D relationships via 2-D images traditionally produced by these scans. We are currently using augmented reality as a teaching tool and have incorporated 3-D immersive environments in the third year medical student Surgery rotation. Initial results suggest that this is an effective tool for teaching third year medical students. 3-D CT rendering and immersive VR provide an effective process for utilizing CT datasets to teach surgical anatomy to medical students.