Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 10, 1179573518813541

The Clinical Utility of Virtual Reality in Neurorehabilitation: A Systematic Review


The Clinical Utility of Virtual Reality in Neurorehabilitation: A Systematic Review

Thais Massetti et al. J Cent Nerv Syst Dis.


Background: Virtual reality (VR) experiences (through games and virtual environments) are increasingly being used in physical, cognitive, and psychological interventions. However, the impact of VR as an approach to rehabilitation is not fully understood, and its advantages over traditional rehabilitation techniques are yet to be established.

Method: We present a systematic review which was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). During February and March of 2018, we conducted searches on PubMed (Medline), Virtual Health Library Search Portal databases (BVS), Web of Science (WOS), and Embase for all VR-related publications in the past 4 years (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018). The keywords used in the search were "neurorehabilitation" AND "Virtual Reality" AND "devices."

Results: We summarize the literature which highlights that a range of effective VR approaches are available. Studies identified were conducted with poststroke patients, patients with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and other pathologies. Healthy populations have been used in the development and testing of VR approaches meant to be used in the future by people with neurological disorders. A range of benefits were associated with VR interventions, including improvement in motor functions, greater community participation, and improved psychological and cognitive function.

Conclusions: The results from this review provide support for the use of VR as part of a neurorehabilitation program in maximizing recovery.

Keywords: Devices; neurorehabilitation; virtual reality.

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of conflicting interests:The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Procedures for determination of eligibility. Adapted from Moher et al.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 2 PubMed Central articles


    1. Shishov N, Melzer I, Bar-Haim S. Parameters and measures in assessment of motor learning in neurorehabilitation; a systematic review of the literature. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017;11:82. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Cincotti F, Mattia D, Aloise F, et al. Non-invasive brain-computer interface system: towards its application as assistive technology. Brain Res Bull. 2008;75:796–803. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Tieri G, Morone G, Paolucci S, Iosa M. Virtual reality in cognitive and motor rehabilitation: facts, fiction and fallacies. Expert Rev Med Devices. 2018;15:107–117. - PubMed
    1. Coleman ER, Moudgal R, Lang K, et al. Early rehabilitation after stroke: a narrative review. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2017;19:59. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Gagliardi C, Turconi AC, Biffi E, et al. Immersive virtual reality to improve walking abilities in cerebral palsy: a pilot study. Ann Biomed Eng. 2018;46:1376–1384. - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources