Neural Navigation & Virtual-Reality

The human brain has 100 billion nerve cells, each with over 10,000 connections. Performing surgery inside the brain is therefore a delicate matter, and one needs to be incredibly precise when doing so. This includes the need to enter the brain through safe corridors, and navigate around a number of fibers that pass through the brain substance without damaging them. A virtual-reality system has now been designed that enables us to do just that. Using special MRI scans made before the surgery, we can register the patient’s head in three-dimensional space to the three-dimensional virtual-reality world of the computer. Then, by simply touching the area that we wish to operate in, we can see exactly where we are on a virtual-reality computer generated picture. This allows us to navigate precisely to and through areas of the brain that would previously be inaccessible with an accuracy of approximately 1 mm. The technique has revolutionized brain surgery, and enables us to operate safely in many areas that were previously not able to be reached. 
Kenneth R. Peak Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment & Research Center 
Houston Methodist Hospital - Texas Medical Center
6445 Main Street, Outpatient Center, Floor 24
Houston, TX 77030