Interactive virtual 3D models of renal cancer patient anatomies alter partial nephrectomy surgical planning decisions and increase surgeon confidence compared to volume-rendered images.

To determine whether the interactive visualisation of patient-specific virtual 3D models of the renal anatomy influences the pre-operative decision-making process of urological surgeons for complex renal cancer operations.

Five historic renal cancer patient pre-operative computed tomography (CT) datasets were retrospectively selected based on RENAL nephrectomy score and variety of anatomy. Interactive virtual 3D models were generated for each dataset using image segmentation software and were made available for online visualisation and manipulation. Consultant urologists were invited to participate in the survey which consisted of CT and volume-rendered images (VRI) for the control arm, and CT with segmentation overlay and the virtual 3D model for the intervention arm. A questionnaire regarding anatomical structures, surgical approach, and confidence was administered.

Twenty-five participants were recruited (54% response rate), with 19/25 having > 5 years of renal surgery experience. The median anatomical clarity score increased from 3 for the control to 5 for the intervention arm. A change in planned surgical approach was reported in 19% of cases. Virtual 3D models increased surgeon confidence in the surgical decisions in 4/5 patient datasets. There was a statistically significant improvement in surgeon opinion of the potential utility for decision-making purposes of virtual 3D models as compared to VRI at the multidisciplinary team meeting, theatre planning, and intra-operative stages.

The use of pre-operative interactive virtual 3D models for surgery planning influences surgical decision-making. Further studies are needed to investigate if the use of these models changes renal cancer surgery outcomes.

International journal of computer assisted radiology and surgery. 2019 Jan 24 [Epub ahead of print]

E R Hyde, L U Berger, N Ramachandran, A Hughes-Hallett, N P Pavithran, M G B Tran, S Ourselin, A Bex, F H Mumtaz

School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King's College London, London, UK. ., School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King's College London, London, UK., Department of Radiology, UCLH NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK., Specialist Centre for Kidney Cancer, Department of Urology, The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.