Interactive virtual reality (VR) provides a new way for interventional radiologists to study each patient’s unique internal anatomy before performing complex treatments, according to new research presented Sunday at SIR 2018.
Zlatko Devcic, MD, a fellow of interventional radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, presented an abstract detailing results from “Augmented virtual reality assisted treatment planning for splenic artery aneurysms: A pilot study” during Sunday afternoon’s “Vascular Diagnosis” scientific session.
“Treating splenic artery aneurysms can be very difficult because of their intricate nature and anatomic variations from patient to patient,” said Dr. Devcic, the abstract’s first author. “This new platform allows you to view this complex arterial anatomy in a three-dimensional image, as if it is right in front of you, which may help interventional radiologists more quickly and thoroughly plan for the equipment and tools they’ll need for a successful treatment.”
Researchers compared the new VR technology to the use of images from a commonly used visualization software system that displays images on a standard two-dimensional platform.
VR turns pre-procedural CT scans into three-dimensional images that a radiologist can virtually move and examine while wearing VR-type glasses. By allowing the operator to manipulate routine two-dimensional images in an open three-dimensional space, as if it were a real physical object, VR allows the operator to visualize and interact with patients’ organs and tissues. That gives the operator a deeper and intuitive understanding of the spatial relationship between an aneurysm and the surrounding arteries, for example.
In the study, three radiologists using both technologies independently evaluated 17 splenic artery aneurysms in 14 patients. Researchers measured the radiologists’ accuracy in identifying inflow and outflow arteries associated with the aneurysms with each method. The radiologists also ranked improvements in their confidence on a four-point scale when using VR compared to the standard method.
Researchers found accuracy was similar with both methods, but confidence improved substantially with VR. In fact, 93 percent of participating physicians who used the VR method indicated higher confidence in their abilities — a score of at least 3.
“Pre-operative planning is possibly the most important step toward a successful treatment, so the value of VR cannot be understated,” Dr. Devcic said. “It gives us a totally different way to look at that structure and safely plan the approach to treatment.”
Researchers hope that this technology will ultimately help reduce the time needed to perform the treatment and, as a result, reduce the amount of radiation and contrast exposure to the patient. However, additional studies are first needed to test the impact of VR pre-procedure evaluations on complication rates and other risks to patients that are typical during the treatment process.
The abstract, which was co-authored by Ibrahim A. Idakoji, MD, MPH; Andrew J. Kesselman, MD; Rajesh Shah, MD; Mohamed A. Abdelrazek, MD; and Nishita Kothary, MD, FSIR, can be found at sirmeeting.org.
VR at SIR 2018
SIR Central, booth 735 in the Expo, will have complimentary virtual reality (VR) viewers available for attendees.
The JVIR VR viewers allow for a new type of learning experience and planning for treatment. Attendees just need a smartphone that they can attach to the VR viewer.
Viewer setup instructions
- If you have not already done so, download and install the YouTube app for your smartphone
- Using your smartphone, download JVIR VR video at https://tinyurl.com/y79xj695
- Open video using the YouTube app
- When video is playing, touch VR viewer icon
- Remove viewer box from plastic wrap
- Remove JVIR VR viewer from viewer box (illustration A)
- Remove disposable covers from VR viewer lenses
- Pull top tab at Velcro to open back panel
- Unfold interior cardboard panel from inside viewer
- Unfold side panels from interior cardboard panel and position so they align with sides of viewer
- Attach Velcro tabs at sides of viewer
- Insert phone and close back panel, reattaching the top Velcro tab (see illustration B)
- View video through the lenses, gently repositioning phone within viewer to ensure proper viewing alignment