“A surgeon accidently kills a patient, undoes the error and starts over again. Can mathematics make such science fiction a reality? The day is rapidly approaching when your surgeon can practice on your “digital double” – a virtual you – before performing an actual surgery, according to UCLA mathematician Joseph Teran, who is helping to make virtual surgery a viable technology. The advantages will save lives, he believes.

“You can fail spectacularly with no consequences when you use a simulator and then learn from your mistakes,” said Teran, 30, who joined UCLA’s mathematics department in July. “If you make errors, you can undo them – just as if you’re typing in a Word document and you make a mistake, you undo it. Starting over is a big benefit of the simulation. “Surgical simulation is coming, there is no question about it,” he said. It’s a cheaper alternative to cadavers and a safer alternative to patients.”

(via UCLA Newsroom)