Sister Pieta and a child showcase the use of virtual reality.

How VR impacts complex surgeries

OSF Innovation has been on the leading edge of 3D modeling ever since printing its first pediatric heart for surgical planning in 2013. Today, the program led by the Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM) Lab, offers surgeons the ability to view complex anatomy in virtual reality, giving them a new perspective on how to proceed with an operation.

Since the program’s inception, hundreds of children’s surgeries have benefitted from VR nationwide, thanks to AIM’s free segmentation service. Dr. Mark Plunkett was an early adopter of the technology in his role as a heart surgeon for babies and children in 2017.

“It really helps you not only define the anatomy with great accuracy, but it also allows you to plan your surgical operation well ahead of time with confidence that your plan will work,” said Dr. Plunkett, chief of pediatric congenital heart surgery at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

This approach to viewing anatomy becomes integral when dealing with complex cases like Hamzah’s. The young child was born with a rare condition called heterotaxy, where his heart was located in the wrong position. In addition, the structure of Hamzah’s heart was pumping and draining blood incorrectly.

VR is an invaluable tool

Watch how Dr. Plunkett was able to leverage VR to perform a successful surgery.

Learn more about the exciting ways the AIM lab is advancing 3D technologies.

Last Updated: May 26, 2023

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About Author: Denise Molina-Weiger

Denise Molina-Weiger is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since March 2015. She initially came to OSF to write about the work taking place at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, one of the world’s largest simulation and innovation centers and went on to become the Media Relations Coordinator for OSF Innovation which was developed to help the hospital system lead the way in transforming care.

Before joining the OSF HealthCare team, Denise was a reporter for Peoria Public Radio for ten years, writing on everything from politics, housing and transportation issues to hospital care in the region. She earned her bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting from Western Illinois University in 2003 and received her master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2004.

Denise lives in West Peoria with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. In her spare time, she likes to snuggle on the couch with her family and watch cooking shows on Netflix. She loves taking road trips with her family and then complaining about it when they are over.

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Categories: Innovation