Virtual reality in radiation therapy training

Surg Oncol. 2011 Sep;20(3):185-8. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2010.07.004. Epub 2010 Aug 17.


Integration of virtual reality (VR) in clinical training programs is a novel tool in radiotherapy. This paper presents a review of the experience with VR and Immersive visualization in 3D perspective for planning and delivery of external radiotherapy. Planning and delivering radiation therapy is a complex process involving physicians, physicists, radiographers and radiation therapists/nurses (RTT's). The specialists must be able to understand spatial relationships in the patient anatomy. Although still in its infancy, VR tools have become available for radiotherapy training, enabling students to simulate and train clinical situations without interfering with the clinical workflow, and without the risk of making errors. Immersive tools like a 3D linear accelerator and 3D display of dose distributions have been integrated into training, together with IT-labs with clinical software. Training in a VR environment seems to be cost-effective for the clinic. Initial reports suggest that 3D display of dose distributions may improve treatment planning and decision making. Whether VR training qualifies the students better than conventional training is still unsettled, but the first results are encouraging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Oncology / education*
  • User-Computer Interface*