Overview: Virtual Reality in Medicine

We have done a systematic review of articles and reviews published about the theme: “Virtual Reality in Medicine”. We used the search query string: “Virtual Reality”, “Metaverse”, “Second Life”, “Virtual World”, “Virtual Life” in order to find out how many articles were written about these themes. For the “Meta-review” we used only “Virtual Reality” AND “Review”. We searched the following databases: Psycinfo, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Isiknowledge till September 2011 and Pubmed till February 2012. We included any source published in either print format or on the Internet, available in all languages, and containing texts that define or attempt to define VR in explicit terms. We retrieved 3443 articles on Pubmed in 2012 and 8237 on Isiknowledge in 2011. This large number of articles covered a wide range of themes, but showed no clear consensus about VR. We identified four general uses of VR in Medicine, and searched for the existing reviews about them. We found 364 reviews in 2011, although only 197 were pertinent to our aims. We have found that there is not a clear consensus about the meaning of the term VR in Medicine. We found numerous articles published on these topics and we decided to group these reviews in four areas: 1. Communication Interface (11 Reviews); 2. Medical Education (49 reviews); 3. Surgical Simulation (49 Reviews) and 4. Psychotherapy (88 Reviews) in order to provide a systematic overview of the subject matter.