New AI technology may aid colorectal surgeon training

Researchers supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering are developing virtual training and evaluation tools for colorectal surgeons. The team is working closely with Troy, N.Y.-based Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The virtual reality training is focused on five Colorectal Objective Structures Assessment of Technical Skills tasks, a skill examination used in national surgical board certification. Even though virtual reality simulation is used for colonoscopy and surgical laparoscopic procedures, a fully immersive environment showing the patient's anatomy is required for COSATS surgeries, which makes creating a colorectal surgeon training program more difficult.

"Our aim is to overcome these challenges and to create entirely new tools for educating surgeons safely and effectively," said Rensselaer Center for Modeling, Simulation and Imaging in Medicine Director Suvranu De. "This is a highly multidisciplinary project involving engineering, haptics, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, surgery and human factors."

The researchers are also designing a "Virtual Intelligent Preceptor," a tool that will teach surgeons technical skills.

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