On July 20, 2016, a team of surgeons broadcast a live hepatectomy from the Fudan University-affiliated Zhongshan Hospital in Fudan, China. Medical students were invited to view the live surgery as part of their curriculum, but three patients that had formerly undergone the procedure were also invited to witness the experience while wearing the latest in virtual reality head gear.

Medical education is not just for medical students and medical professionals. Patients are often eager to understand the details of operations they will undergo, and this VR experiment is a huge leap forward in improving patient education. Instead of showing patients pictures and drawing diagrams, physicians can virtually immerse the patients in an actual surgery from the point of view of the surgeons.

While the hospital’s VR systems are still being developed, they expect to be able to show patients virtual representations of almost any procedure that might be carried out on the body before the end of the year.