Surgical planning for microsurgical excision of cerebral arterio-venous malformations using virtual reality technology.
To evaluate the feasibility of surgical planning using a virtual reality platform workstation in the treatment of cerebral arterio-venous malformations (AVMs) Patient-specific data of multiple imaging modalities were co-registered, fused and displayed as a 3D stereoscopic object on the Dextroscope, a virtual reality surgical planning platform. This system allows for manipulation of 3D data and for the user to evaluate and appreciate the angio-architecture of the nidus with regards to position and spatial relationships of critical feeders and draining veins. We evaluated the ability of the Dextroscope to influence surgical planning by providing a better understanding of the angio-architecture as well as its impact on the surgeon's pre- and intra-operative confidence and ability to tackle these lesions. Twenty four patients were studied. The mean age was 29.65 years. Following pre-surgical planning on the Dextroscope, 23 patients underwent microsurgical resection after pre-surgical virtual reality planning, during which all had documented complete resection of the AVM. Planning on the virtual reality platform allowed for identification of critical feeders and draining vessels in all patients. The appreciation of the complex patient specific angio-architecture to establish a surgical plan was found to be invaluable in the conduct of the procedure and was found to enhance the surgeon's confidence significantly. Surgical planning of resection of an AVM with a virtual reality system allowed detailed and comprehensive analysis of 3D multi-modality imaging data and, in our experience, proved very helpful in establishing a good surgical strategy, enhancing intra-operative spatial orientation and increasing surgeon's confidence.