The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library

Virtual Reality

Anatomage Digital Surrogate Table

Students at Ramon Llull University performing a digital dissection using virtual reality technology from Anatomage.

Modern technology continues to evolve to benefit medical education. Because cadavers are costly for schools to purchase as well as properly store, developers are engineering ways for medical students to examine the human body without the need to cut one open. Virtual Reality (VR) has become a staple in modern medical education as it is designed to be cost efficient and reusable.

The use of 3-dimensional (3-D) computer models in anatomy classes has increased in recent years. These models can be used on different devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones, which allows for students to continue their studies at their convenience. In the classroom, teachers are using digital tables, such as Anatomage, to teach anatomy through digital dissection. This type of technology has the capability of uploading data from real-life patients’ medical records, such as computerized tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans. Currently, the Anatomage technology is used primarily as a teaching tool, but is also used to study radiology.

Besides being more economical, VR technology also falls under modern medical schools' preferred way of teaching: it is self-contained. Students can download a single application and have their entire anatomy class notes in their pocket. Studying on one’s own time allows for students to learn at their own place. Active engagement with human anatomy is no longer confined to a classroom.