Virtual dissection table ‘as close as you can get’ to real cadaver, students say

Paul Brown, consulting associate professor in the division of anatomy at Stanford, said he got the idea of developing a library of various anatomical images to use in such a table because medical students generally work on just one cadaver.

“A 300 pound football player is different from a 100 pound Japanese woman,” he said. “I was interested in providing a larger number of cadavers — men, women, size variations, different ethnicities.”

Students eventually will be able to download the data onto computers and tablets so they can review it at home, since “you can’t take a cadaver home in your briefcase,” Brown said.

Brown said he described the idea for the virtual dissection table to his friend Jack Choi, CEO and president of Anatomage. What Choi produced “was far superior to what we expected, and with even more potential in the future,” Brown said.

Apart from schools and universities, Choi envisions the table being used in a clinical setting for doctors to conduct discussions either among themselves or with patients.

“When we first released it in one radiology meeting, doctors were very positive and said this was the coolest product they have seen,” Choi said.

Choi plans to develop a version of the table that could simulate real treatment procedures, so that doctors can use it for training.

Srivastava is working with engineers to develop feedback devices for the table that would allow users to actually touch and feel the virtual bodies.

Surgeons could rehearse an operation on a virtual representation of a patient, he said, and in the future “we could actually simulate open surgery, which hasn’t happened before.”

Copyright (c) 2011, San Jose Mercury News. Visit, the website of the Mercury News, at Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.