Virtual Trainer for Prostate Cryosurgery

P.S. Windyga, G.M. Onik (USA), and R. Medina (Venezuela)


Prostate cancer, virtual reality, cryosurgery.


An ongoing research toward the development of a proof of-concept prototype for a software/hardware tool that, using virtual reality technology, will allow training of surgeons on prostate cryosurgical-related procedures is presented. The prostate is the most common site for new cancers in men, yet the disease is curable if detected early enough. Percutaneous targeted prostate ablation has emerged in recent years as a treatment option for the patient seeking a minimally invasive alternative to radiation therapy. Nuances in the procedure and the inherent deficiencies of the imaging technique used (ultrasound) sustain a steep leaning curve. Consequently, there are not enough experienced physician proctors to meet training demand. The aimed PC-based training system will encompass simulation of the patient's anatomy, surgical instrument placement, and the ultrasound imaging system including the probe placement and manipulation. Among other benefits, such a tool will improve surgery outcomes and patient safety while promoting increased use of prostate targeted cryosurgery as a primary therapy for localized prostate cancer. The prototype concept, system design, methodology and preliminary results are presented. This paper focuses on the development of a virtual atlas of cases.

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