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Virtual reality helping to improve healthcare

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style
A virtual reality colonoscopy developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield could help clinicians to detect abnormalities in the digestive system.

David Randall from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease (IICD) has enabled clinicians to travel inside a patient’s colon, viewing its mucosal surface with an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This allows them to explore the colon in real 3D rather than via the 2D representation offered by conventional PC monitors.

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“Virtual colonoscopy, viewed on a 2D monitor, is a procedure performed routinely within the NHS where the structure of the colon is extracted from a CT image and its lumen is ‘flown through’,” said David.

“While the radiologist transits the colon they look for pathological structures, for example polyps (pre-cancerous lumps).

“Reporting involves examination of both the CT data and virtual colonoscopy to reach diagnosis.

“Virtual colonoscopy examinations are labour intensive, typically taking 20 minutes for experienced radiologists and significantly longer for less experienced clinicians.

“We hope that by performing this examination with virtual reality technology offers potential improvements in efficiency and lesion detectability for virtual colonoscopy examinations.”

The work was developed through a collaboration between the Medical Physics Group in IICD and the 3D Imaging Laboratory in the Medical Imaging and Medical Physics Directorate of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

This work was supported by the Think Ahead SURE programme and funded by Bardhan Research and Education Trust of Rotherham and the EPSRC.


Additional Information
The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

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