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Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation: A Disruptive Assessment and Learning Technology

Rolando Del Maestro, MD, PhD, William Feindel Emeritus Professor in Neuro-Oncology, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Director Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Virtual Reality Surgical Simulation: A Disruptive Assessment and Learning Technology

Dr. R. Del Maestro

  • CREATE-MIA Event
  • Site visit
  • Seminar
When Nov 17, 2017
from 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre (see text for directions)
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<Directions to the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre>


Training surgeons is a dynamic process which is evolving towards more objective measures of assessing psychomotor technical skills. Advances in computer-based technology have created significant opportunities for disruption of present learning technologies by implementing new neurosurgical training paradigms focusing on improving neurosurgical bimanual psychomotor skill acquisition, better documenting surgical skills assessment and potentially enhancing procedural outcomes. A number of virtual reality simulators have been developed for training residents involving a variety of neurosurgical purposes, ranging from simple procedures to full preoperative planning simulation. This presentation will focus on our recent results involving development of an “Expert” Performance Model for Virtual Reality Tumor Resections utilizing the NeuroTouch/NeuroVR virtual reality simulator platform which provides haptic feedback to investigate a series of questions that relate to the concept of surgical expertise.

Lab Visit

Following Dr. Del Maestro's talk, trainees will split into two groups.  Each group will have the opportunity to participate in a number of simulation exercises including:

  • Brain tumor resection utilizing the NeuroTouch/NeuroVR simulator platform

  • Spinal laminectomy utilizing the Zspace simulator platform. and

  • Spinal neurosurgery utilizing the OSSim simulator platform

Multiple other neurosurgical simulations are available on theses three platforms and they will be utilized based on interest.
While one group is doing the simulator exercises, the other will participate in a related question and answer session.
In preparation for the simulation exercises, trainees should visit the Neurosurgical Simulation Research and Training Centre website.



Dr. Rolando Del Maestro is the William Feindel Professor Emeritus in Neuro-Oncology and Professor in the Department of the Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. As the Director of the Neurosurgery Simulation Research and Training Centre at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University, his research is focused on developing and accessing the educational role of virtual reality surgical simulation of the NeuroTouch/NeuroVR and other simulation platforms working in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada and multiple national and international research groups.

Along with his wife Pam and Steve Northey, he co-founded the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada in 1982. This organization is a dynamic cross Canada organization fostering excellence in brain tumour patient care, patient support and research funding.

His other interests include the History of Medicine with a particular interest in Leonardo da Vinci and renaissance medicine. He is the Honorary Osler Librarian, Chairperson of the Standing Committee and member of the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill. Dr. Del Maestro has one of the largest private collections of materials related to Leonardo Da Vinci. Using this material he has curated a number of exhibitions related to Leonardo's art and anatomical interests as well as an exhibition on the History of Neuro-Oncology at the Osler Library at McGill University and Montreal’s Leonardo da Vinci Centre. His latest book entitled A Relationship Etched in Time: Leonardo da Vinci, The Earl of Arundel and Wenceslaus Hollar will be published by the McGill-Queens Press.


« December 2021 »
Funded by NSERC

Funding provided by NSERC