Augmented reality visualization of deformable tubular structures for surgical simulation

Int J Med Robot. 2016 Jun;12(2):231-40. doi: 10.1002/rcs.1681. Epub 2015 Jul 6.


Background: Surgical simulation based on augmented reality (AR), mixing the benefits of physical and virtual simulation, represents a step forward in surgical training. However, available systems are unable to update the virtual anatomy following deformations impressed on actual anatomy.

Methods: A proof-of-concept solution is described providing AR visualization of hidden deformable tubular structures using nitinol tubes sensorized with electromagnetic sensors. This system was tested in vitro on a setup comprised of sensorized cystic, left and right hepatic, and proper hepatic arteries. In the trial session, the surgeon deformed the tubular structures with surgical forceps in 10 positions.

Results: The mean, standard deviation, and maximum misalignment between virtual and real arteries were 0.35, 0.22, and 0.99 mm, respectively.

Conclusion: The alignment accuracy obtained demonstrates the feasibility of the approach, which can be adopted in advanced AR simulations, in particular as an aid to the identification and isolation of tubular structures. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: augmented reality; soft tissue; surgical simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Cholecystectomy / methods
  • Electromagnetic Radiation
  • General Surgery / education
  • General Surgery / methods
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / instrumentation
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Simulation Training*
  • Software
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • User-Computer Interface