Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is adopting virtual reality technology to train its obstetrics and gynecology residents in surgical techniques.

The technology will allow Rush to do away with practice operations on pigs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported (http://bit.ly/29IpXhU ). As a result, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals agreed to cover half of the $12,000 cost of the training module.

The system will allow the 24 residents to practice using a joystick or surgical tools while they see a virtual patient through a screen. Students will practice common procedures on the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

"Surgery is no different than learning how to play an instrument or a sport," said OB/GYN residency Director Dr. Xavier Pombar. "The more practice you have, the better you get."

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The module is scheduled to be in place in August.

Fourth-year resident Michelle Beck said the software will allow her to become proficient in a variety of surgical concepts.

"We'll be able to practice everything from basic concepts to full surgeries and receive feedback in real time," Beck said. The system "scores competency — how effective your movement was, how long it took you to complete the task — and then gives you a percentage."