GPU-Powered VR Guides UCLA’s Top Surgeons

by Gail Laguna

The University of California, Los Angeles is now home to one of the world’s most advanced surgical environments, thanks to Surgical Theater’s new medical Virtual Reality (mVR) technology. And you can get a peek at it at our GPU Technology Conference next week, in Silicon Valley.

Led by Alon Zuckerman, an expert in advanced flight simulation and VR in aviation, Surgical Theater’s mVR division focuses on using VR in surgery to treat pathologies requiring complex interventions, such as brain and cardiovascular surgery.

Surgical Theater’s platforms provide dynamic visualization capabilities in real time, such as allowing surgeons to perform up-to-the-minute navigation of the surgical pathway. By using multiple NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA SLI technology to increase resolution and responsiveness, surgeons can “fly through” a patient’s anatomy before surgery.

Surgical Theater VR portal
Complex procedures such as brain surgery are the focus of Surgical Theater’s new mVR division.

“The ability to go through a test-run for highly technical and sensitive surgeries is worth more than I can state,” said Neil Martin, chairman UCLA’s neurosurgery department.  

The unprecedented capabilities provided by VR have altered the landscape of medical imaging and navigation, allowing surgeons to reconstruct and fuse computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and other scans into 3D VR models.

Working in concert with mVR, Surgical Theater’s Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform powers the fly-through of the procedure, giving surgeons an intuitive situational awareness of the surgery site, helping surgeons determine the safest and most efficient pathway.

Surgical Theater office
Surgeons can dynamically visualize of-the-minute navigations of surgical pathways.

“It’s a memorable experience that stays with you in the operating room,” said Martin, who incorporates Surgical Theater’s groundbreaking technology into all aspects of his daily routine, from the exam room to the operating room. “You feel like you’ve been through the territory before.”

It’s not just doctors who benefit. Patients can put on a VR headset and walk through their own body, literally standing between arteries and brain tissue. Patients can tour their treatment plan and immerse themselves in their anatomical structures.

UCLA’s Martin will be diving into his experiences with this revolutionary technology at GTC 2016, taking place April 4-7, in Silicon Valley. During a session called “Lessons Learned from VR Navigation in Neurosurgery at UCLA,” he’ll talk about how using VR and enhanced 3D imaging is transforming complex surgery. He’ll be joined by Moty Avisar, co-founder and CEO of Surgical Theater.

For more information and to register for GTC, visit