Introduction: It has been previously established that three-dimensional (3-D) imaging is superior to two-dimensional (2-D) imaging in improving anatomic orientation and structural differentiation. The objective of this report is to describe the setup of different 3-D recording modalities (macroscopic, endoscopic and microsurgical) used in our laboratory and operating room. The report also aims to highlight the utility of 3-D images in providing depth perception and discernment of structures in comparison to 2D images and to discuss the potential of utilization of 3-D resources in neurosurgical research and didactics.
Methods: The technical details for equipment and laboratory set up for obtaining 3D images were described. 3D images were obtained by first capturing the stereo pair of images using a modified ‘shoot-shift-shoot’ method, and then converging them to a final 3-D form. The integrated 3-D video camera coupled to the surgical microscope was used to acquire images and videos for microsurgical procedures, both in the laboratory and operation room. Side-by-side comparison of 2-D vs. 3-D images was provided using illustrative cases.
Results: 3-D imaging was found to be superior to 2-D imaging in providing depth perception and structure identification for all three modalities described, as evidenced by the side-by-side comparison of images provided. Moreover, we provided the first report of the methodology for using the 2-D endoscope to obtain 3-D endoscopic endonasal images.
Conclusions: 3-D imaging, by virtue of providing immediate depth perception, allows efficient understanding of key spatial relationships, making it an invaluable tool in neurosurgical research and education. Integration of 3-D resources in neurosurgical residency programs may shorten learning curves and increase surgical efficiency, potentially leading to improved outcomes. However, it should not replace direct hands-on practice.
Patient Care: The use of 3-D educational resources will increase the neurosurgeons' understanding of key surgical anatomy and shorten learning curves, potentially improving surgical outcomes. By virtue of increasing knowledge of surgical anatomy and key relationships, 3-D resources may also lead to increase in surgical efficiency (e.g. lesser total surgical time, anesthesia and blood loss) , leading to overall improvement in patient outcomes.
Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to:
(1) Conceive the importance of the potential impact of stereoscopic (3-D) resources in neurosurgical education
(2) Understand specific technical proceedings for 3-D photography using macroscopic cameras and endoscopes as well as integrated microscopic systems
(3) Acquire the necessary knowledge to engage in the development of 3-D resources and materials to optimize neurosurgical learning