Dr. Jia Luo, Vice President of Engineering and Dr. Prashant Banerjee, CEO, ImmersiveTouch Inc
Virtual Reality (VR) has traditionally been associated with video gamers. However with its immersive display, cost-effectiveness, and portability, VR is now impacting healthcare. ImmersiveTouch Inc. is at the forefront of medical virtual reality solutions with its ImmersiveView software suite. The ImmersiveView suite revolutionizes surgical planning by rapidly transforming existing patient computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) images into accurate, fully realized, high-resolution VR models that the physician can manipulate and explore from any angle, enabling a level of interaction not previously possible. ImmersiveView provides 3D visualizations of medical imaging in a 3D VR display.
The roots of this technological breakthrough date back to the early 1990s at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Prashant Banerjee, Ph.D, CEO of ImmersiveTouch, Inc. (ITI) began his research in virtual reality that eventually led to the founding of the company in 2005. Banerjee envisioned new, cutting-edge virtual reality technologies and services that support physicians and their patients for a better surgical outcome. Today, ImmersiveTouch Inc. provides a suite of solutions for surgical planning, patient engagement and surgery skills training using virtual reality. Combining patient-specific 2D and 3D visual data, ImmersiveView provides a unique VR experience that aids surgeons and medical imaging specialists in optimal planning of surgical cases, enables patients to better understand their treatment and helps surgeons in training improve their skills using patented haptics. “ImmersiveView helps physicians fully explore and understand their patients in 3D pixel by pixel, enabling them to do what they do even better,” said Banerjee. “We have heard from users that ImmersiveView is a game changer, and we’re confident it will continue to revolutionize surgical practice, helping lead to fewer surgical errors and complications.”
ITI’s ImmersiveView platform is offered as a value-added service to physicians. The platform is hardware agnostic and compatible with HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality.
Early adopters of ImmersiveView remark that the technology delivers pinpoint accuracy in surgical planning along with a reduction in OR times, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times while boosting physician confidence. Physicians have to simply upload a DICOM dataset through ITI’s intuitive web portal and they receive a 3D virtual reality model within their desired schedule. ImmersiveView is highly intuitive, allowing the physician to grab, turn, expand and explore the VR model of the patient to evaluate procedural options and plan the surgery. With the touch of one button (which can be adjusted for right- and left-handedness), the user can:
• Overlay and move a 2D scan of the patient anywhere in the image
• Better visualize specific parts of the anatomy by enabling transparency of tissues, such as bones, organs or blood vessels
• Take a picture and save it to the computer for later reference
In one instance, a renowned craniofacial pediatric surgeon, Pravin K. Patel, MD, operated on one of his patients who was suffering from an abnormal enlargement of a joint fused inside the skull preventing the brain’s development and growth. With the help of ImmersiveView, the doctor was able to gather necessary information with 3D VR. This allowed him to simulate the entire surgery process in an immersive manner.
“Even though we could see the 3D anatomy, we could never interact with it–we were always trapped in a 2D surface. ImmersiveView allows us to cross that glass barrier into the other side, into a different universe where we can touch and work with the anatomy,” said Pravin K. Patel, M.D., chief of pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgery at both the University of Illinois Heath & Medical Science Center and Chicago Shriners Hospitals for Children. “It’s easy to learn and simple to use and has made a significant difference in the way I approach patient care.”