Virtual reality for surgical training and preoperative planning

Nalini Pather, Nicolette Birbara, Sina Sobhanmanesh, James M. Otton

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Introduction/background: Cardiac surgery and patient management in both adult and paediatric patients, frequently require an understanding of patient-specific anatomy. In adults for example, the diagnosis and assessment of mitral valve (MV) disease requires a comprehensive knowledge of MV anatomy. Similarly, congenital heart disease (CHD) is complex and requires understanding the patient-specific anomalous heart. Patient-specific three-dimensional (3D) models are invaluable tools for this surgical planning. The maturity and accessibility of 3D print, and its presentation using virtual and augmented reality hardware and software provides an unique opportunity to transform surgical training and preoperative planning by providing the clinician with a embodied authentic experience in which to problem-solve and plan procedures.
Aim/objectives: This study aimed at compare the effectiveness of three different 3D modalities (3D-print, and 3D-VR headset and desktop delivery) for preoperative planning and management; and to survey clinicians on the likelihood that they would use such technology for clinical management.
Methods: A prototype for 3D modelling and printing of the both the adult and paediatric heart was developed. The prototype was validated by assessing its precision and then validating its use in clinical practice by developing patient-specific 3D printed models of patients with mitral valve or congenital heart disease, in order to assess their usefulness and accuracy in preoperative planning, desktop-VR, and immersive-VR (for Oculus Rift headsets) were created for the patient imaging datasets. Cardiac professionals were invited to experience these technologies, and were then surveyed to compare the usefulness of the embodied experience for surgical planning and patient management.
Results: Quantitative analysis of the 3D virtual reconstructed hearts demonstrated that adult and paediatric patient specific models could be reconstructed with sub-millimetre precision, with no statistically significant difference between print methods (p=0.317). 3D printed models are considered a useful tool in preoperative planning by clinicians, particularly those printed in a flexible material. All survey participants found the embodied experience useful and most were likely to use patient-specific 3D immersive VR models for preoperative planning, followed by a 3D desktop VR and a 3D printed model.
Discussion: While clinicians indicated that they were likely to use 3D VR, younger health professionals demonstrated greater comfort and confidence with using this novel technology. 3D VR presents an interesting modality for patient management and may potentially be useful for public education.
Conclusions: In conclusion, imaging data with sufficient contrast can be used for 3D modelling and 3D immersive VR technology has great potential in future personalised medicine.
This abstract is from the Experimental Biology 2018 Meeting. There is no full text article associated with this abstract published in The FASEB Journal.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2018
EventExperimental Biology 2018 - EB 2018 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 21 Apr 201825 Apr 2018


ConferenceExperimental Biology 2018 - EB 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


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