Virtual cerebral aneurysm clipping with real-time haptic force feedback in neurosurgical education
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Realistic, safe, and efficient modalities for simulation-based training are highly warranted to enhance the quality of surgical education, and they should be incorporated in resident training. The aim of this study was to develop a patient-specific virtual cerebral aneurysm-clipping simulator with haptic force feedback and real-time deformation of the aneurysm and vessels.
A prototype simulator was developed from 2012 to 2016. Evaluation of virtual clipping by blood flow simulation was integrated in this software, and the prototype was evaluated by 18 neurosurgeons. In 4 patients with different medial cerebral artery aneurysms, virtual clipping was performed after real-life surgery, and surgical results were compared regarding clip application, surgical trajectory, and blood flow.
After head positioning and craniotomy, bimanual virtual aneurysm clipping with an original forceps was performed. Blood flow simulation demonstrated residual aneurysm filling or branch stenosis. The simulator improved anatomic understanding for 89% of neurosurgeons. Simulation of head positioning and craniotomy was considered realistic by 89% and 94% of users, respectively. Most participants agreed that this simulator should be integrated into neurosurgical education (94%). Our illustrative cases demonstrated that virtual aneurysm surgery was possible using the same trajectory as in real-life cases. Both virtual clipping and blood flow simulation were realistic in broad-based but not calcified aneurysms. Virtual clipping of a calcified aneurysm could be performed using the same surgical trajectory, but not the same clip type.
We have successfully developed a virtual aneurysm-clipping simulator. Next, we will prospectively evaluate this device for surgical procedure planning and education.