Introduction: Neurosurgical patients face complex disease pathology and must weigh the risks and benefits of difficult to understand surgical interventions. Most neurosurgeons utilize standard two dimensional imaging slices and rudimentary models of normal anatomy to describe three dimensional anatomy and pathology to patients, as well as to present potential surgical approaches. The advent of immersive three-dimensional virtual reality (3D-VR) technology can allow visualization of patient-specific anatomy and pathology. It is hypothesized that utilizing this new technology in the clinic setting will enhance the patient engagement, understanding, and satisfaction and, ultimately, create a more meaningful shared decision making process.
Methods: A three-dimensional virtual reality (3D-VR) system was adopted for use during patient consultations in the Stanford Neurosurgery Clinic beginning in 2016. Patient-specific two-dimensional DICOM images from multiple imaged modalities (CT and MRI) are utilized to create volumetric models in VR and then fused together. The mobile 3D-VR system is moved from room to room where these models are shown to patients during surgeon consultation. Patients can manipulate the anatomy themselves via its touchscreen controls. They also don an immersive VR headset where they can 'fly' through the anatomy, pathology, and approach to surgery, guided and narrated by their surgeon. The patient then receives a USB drive that includes their 2-dimensional DICOM images and a video of the VR 'fly-through' they experienced in the clinic.
Results: To date, 50 patients have experienced the 3D-VR system as a routine part of their pre-surgical neurosurgery clinic visit. This has been particularly instrumental in presenting treatment options to parents of children undergoing evaluation as well as non-English speaking patients. All patients have given extremely positive reviews, and the system has been instrumental in increasing patient engagement, understanding of the anatomy, pathology, and surgical approach, and overall satisfaction with their consultation experience.
Conclusions: Immersive 3D-VR technology can allow visualization of patient-specific anatomy and pathology, and simulate surgical approaches that can have a positive impact on patient engagement, comprehension, and overall satisfaction.
Patient Care: Immersive 3D-VR technology can allow visualization of patient-specific anatomy and pathology, and simulate surgical approaches that can have a positive impact on patient engagement, comprehension, and overall satisfaction.
Learning Objectives: 1. Understand the applications of 3D-VR technology for neurosurgical treatment planning
2. Learn how to apply 3D-VR systems in the neurosurgical clinic and OR
3. Key points in implementation of 3D-VR for the benefit of patient engagement, education, and satisfaction