A.I. and virtual reality can determine neurosurgeon expertise with 90 per cent accuracy

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Machine learning-guided virtual reality simulators can help neurosurgeons develop the skills they need before they step in the operating room, according to a recent study. Research from the Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and McGill University shows that machine learning algorithms can accurately assess the capabilities of neurosurgeons during virtual surgery, demonstrating that virtual reality simulators using artificial intelligence can be powerful tools in surgeon training. Fifty participants were recruited from four stages of neurosurgical training; neurosurgeons, fellows and senior residents, junior residents, and medical students. They performed 250 complex tumour resections using NeuroVR, a virtual reality surgical simulator developed by the National Research Council of Canada and distributed by CAE, which recorded all instrument movements in 20 millisecond intervals. Using this raw data, a machine learning algorithm developed performance measures such as instrument position and force applied, as well as outcomes such as amount of tumour removed and blood loss, which could predict the level of expertise of each participant with 90 per-cent accuracy.