AUA 2019: Evaluation of the Effect of Immersive Virtual Reality on Resident, Surgeon and Patient Anatomic Understanding in the Setting of Laparoscopic Partial Nephrectomy

Chicago, IL ( In an effort to enhance the preoperative planning process for partial nephrectomy, the investigators translated the CT and MRI images of patients with a renal mass into virtual reality models (Figure 1). Surgeons and patients both viewed these patient-specific virtual reality models prior to surgery.
AUA 2019 virtual reality model

Postoperatively, the surgeons noted that the virtual reality models accurately represented the patients’ anatomy. They also reported that the models aided them in understanding the patients’ anatomy – indeed, this resulted in an alteration of the operative approach in over 60% of cases. Also of importance, patients reported that their preoperative anxiety regarding the procedure was quelled after they viewed the virtual reality models and gained a better understanding of their anatomy and the procedure.

In regards to specific instances of an alteration of the surgical approach, the presenter noted one example in which the virtual reality model revealed that the tumor was supplied superiorly by three arteries; this led the surgeon to perform his dissection moving caudo-cranially, so that he was able to dissect the avascular area of the tumor prior to clamping the renal artery.

The presenters acknowledged that objective operative outcomes are lacking from the current presentation, but indicated that they are in the process of acquiring these data.

Presented and written by: Frank Jefferson, Irvine Department of Urology, University of California-Irvine at American Urological Association's 2019 Annual Meeting (AUA 2019), May 3 – 6, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois