Virtual Reality in the Neurosciences: Current Practice and Future Directions

Front Surg. 2022 Feb 18:8:807195. doi: 10.3389/fsurg.2021.807195. eCollection 2021.


Virtual reality has made numerous advancements in recent years and is used with increasing frequency for education, diversion, and distraction. Beginning several years ago as a device that produced an image with only a few pixels, virtual reality is now able to generate detailed, three-dimensional, and interactive images. Furthermore, these images can be used to provide quantitative data when acting as a simulator or a rehabilitation device. In this article, we aim to draw attention to these areas, as well as highlight the current settings in which virtual reality (VR) is being actively studied and implemented within the field of neurosurgery and the neurosciences. Additionally, we discuss the current limitations of the applications of virtual reality within various settings. This article includes areas in which virtual reality has been used in applications both inside and outside of the operating room, such as pain control, patient education and counseling, and rehabilitation. Virtual reality's utility in neurosurgery and the neurosciences is widely growing, and its use is quickly becoming an integral part of patient care, surgical training, operative planning, navigation, and rehabilitation.

Keywords: artificial intelligence; augmented reality; neuroscience; neurosurgery; virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Review