VCath, a new free iPad app, helps train neurosurgeons

by David Needle

November 8 2012

VCath for the iPad has been called a significant advance for neurosurgical training.
VCath for the iPad has been called a significant advance for neurosurgical training.

Neurosurgeons have a new training tool thanks to the iPad.

The neurosurgeons of tomorrow can hone some of the necessary skills on iPads thanks to a new training app called VCath.

The free mobile app developed at Bangor University in the U.K helps neurosurgeons-in-training master an appreciation of the ventricular system in the brain.

The VCath app is designed to take a neurosurgical trainee through the steps of positioning and inserting a catheter into the brain of a virtual 3D patient. These steps are part of a procedure called ‘Ventricular Catheterisation’, which is used to drain fluid that has become obstructed within the ventricles of the brain.

Inserting a catheter at the correct orientation and depth so that it punctures the ventricles is critical to a successful outcome for the patient, notes VCath’s developer. It requires the neurosurgeon to have an excellent 3D awareness as the anatomy involved is not visible during the procedure.

“VCath is an exciting new iPad application which allows trainees to learn the basic theoretical and practical skills of ventricular catheterisation in a realistic simulated environment,” said Prof William Gray, Professor of Functional Neurosurgery at the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University.

“It is a valuable tool for enhancing the learning of a core skill set and is a significant advance for applying simulation to neurosurgical training.” 

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