Challenges & Advances in Augmented Reality Neurosurgery Challenges & Advances in Augmented Reality Neurosurgery
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Augmented Reality-Guided Neurosurgery: Advancements and Challenges

Augmented Reality-Guided Neurosurgery: Advancements and Challenges

Augmented Reality

Introduction

Developing AR and VR-based surgery simulators, surgical navigation platforms, and “Smart OR” systems are met with various challenges.  Using Augmented and Virtual Reality to create an operating room environment to train surgeons in their operations is challenging.  Several virtual reality companies have now helped the healthcare industry refine their surgical skills with the help of virtual surgeries.

Interactive Simulations and Navigational Aids

There has been a concerted effort to create neurosurgery simulations and navigational systems in recent years using VR-AR interfaces.  Some use very abstract OR-based scenarios, while others concentrate on low-level sensory-motor skills, which may include haptic interfaces.  As a result, the surgeon can access broader set of tools, ranging from commercial large-scale neuronavigational systems to customizable platforms. The design of such VR applications necessitates open communication between various individuals.  Neurosurgeons and technical experts are both critical in the design effort to adequately explain the system use cases.

Technological Advancements

The technological advancements connected to each surgery simulator or navigation system are not always the same as it depends on the people using the device and the purpose.  A basic model can instruct residents, whereas if one wants to practice on a particular case, the patient’s real images must be incorporated.  The brain’s anatomical structures are intrinsically entwined with one another and hence difficult to segment automatically.  Therefore, it is more difficult to have patient-specific data readily available. This is because there are fewer contrasts between brain structures than between other anatomical regions of the body.

To prevent unintentional injury to vascular or neurological structures, the neurosurgeon frequently uses an X-ray of the patient’s anatomy. Utilizing augmented reality modalities with mixed reality systems, neurosurgeons can achieve better surgical outcomes with less fatigue. Surgical cases have fully embraced surgical AR and are looking for VR solutions.  Finding one is not a difficult task.  Search on the internet for “AR services near me” to get a list of companies that are providing VR solutions.  AR VR-Sol is one of the leading companies focused on providing VR solutions for the healthcare industry. The focus is to provide VR services for hospitals and help device manufacturing companies effectively market their devices.  This is achieved by allowing medical experts to experience the procedure in a real-time environment.

Enhancing Surgical Precision

For pre-operative studies, neurosurgeons have a variety of instruments at their disposal.  These include, but are not limited to CT, MRI, angiography, ultrasound, transcranial magnetic stimulation, etc.  Slice-based 3D imaging technology is used to combine all this data into a single 3D reference data frame.  The process of segmentation transforms 3D images into 3D structural objects, which can then be projected within a 3D environment.

Using augmented reality navigation and surgery simulators, surgeons can plan complex surgeries such as brain tumor excision, including identifying vulnerable tissues, defining the ideal surgical trajectory, and positioning the patient’s head.

According to a study comparing traditional neuronavigation to augmented reality, the accuracy is 3.5 times greater with augmented reality. It also emphasizes the value of frequent modifications to boost accuracy and how Augmented Reality boosts self-assurance.  This is what makes virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality the need of the hour.  It is in great demand for healthcare, more specifically for surgical planning.

Augmented and mixed reality can support precraniotomy accuracy checks using landmarks on the skull.  It facilitates precorticotomy accuracy checks and corrections, aid in corticotomy and dissection planning.  It also helps in identifying deep structures and enabling accuracy checks using the shape of the ventricle lumen.  It also makes it possible to evaluate cavity shape even after the brain tumor has been removed.

Conclusion

Augmented reality navigation improves neurosurgeons’ surgery precision by knowing exactly where to look.  The development of Virtual and Augmented Reality in Neurosurgery has made significant strides in recent years.  The application of augmented reality in neurosurgery has enormous potential to advance the discipline and enhance patient outcomes. The ability to enhance visualization, plan operations, and facilitate intraoperative communication can improve complex procedures. Collaboration between medical experts, technologists, and regulatory agencies is crucial.  This is essential to overcome the obstacles and realize the full potential of augmented reality-guided neurosurgery.

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