The Neurosurgery Simulation Core maintains a diverse array of technology to support our basic research and clinical missions. These tools help us prototype and develop new devices, plan for surgeries in a variety of ways tailored to an individual operation, and educate physicians, residents, students, and patients.
In our Simulation Core Suite, we use a Makerbot 5th Generation “Fused Deposition Modeling” printer for small, rapid prototypes of technology and pre-operative models. Through our relationship with the Mount Sinai Institute for Next Generation Healthcare, we have access to a variety of industrial-scale printing capabilities unique to a clinical setting, including 3D System’s ProJet 3500 and 660. These printers allow rapid development of patient-specific 3D anatomical printing for pre-operative planning and patient consultation.
The Neurosurgery Simulation Core works closely with industry partners to acquire and deploy the most advanced available simulation technology for our patients. We collaborate extensively with Surgical Theater whose products, the 3D Surgical Planner (SRP) and Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform (SNAP), provide advanced, patient-specific 3D visualization technology which we have integrated into our tumor and vascular case planning. The SNAP is now a standard feature in operating rooms, providing surgeons with an intraoperative and patient-specific 3D environment in which to plan and understand surgical approaches. More recently, we have acquired Surgical Theater’s most recent intraoperative simulator, the EndoSNAP, which enables tight integration between virtual reality and minimally-invasive endoscopic procedures. Newly-acquired SNAP “viewer” stations enable patients to interact with virtual reality representations of their own procedures prior to surgery, which augments patients’ understanding of their diseases and confidence in the planned operation.
Our program was the first in the United States to acquire the NeuroTouch virtual-reality simulator, which uses 3D software in tandem with handheld surgical control to provide visual and haptic (tactile) feedback to closely mimic an actual brain surgery. The Neurosurgery Simulation Core uses these tools to develop new approaches to neurosurgery training, much in the same way that flight simulation is used to train pilots before they operate a passenger plane. More recently, we have acquired Synaptive’s Brightmatter Simulate platform, a hyper-realistic brain and bony-anatomy model, which allow us to train for and prototype new procedures.