Virtual and Augmented Reality Systems for Renal Interventions: A Systematic Review

IEEE Rev Biomed Eng. 2017;10:78-94. doi: 10.1109/RBME.2017.2749527. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Purpose: Many virtual and augmented reality systems have been proposed to support renal interventions. This paper reviews such systems employed in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and renal stones.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed. Inclusion criteria were virtual and augmented reality systems for radical or partial nephrectomy and renal stone treatment, excluding systems solely developed or evaluated for training purposes.

Results: In total, 52 research papers were identified and analyzed. Most of the identified literature (87%) deals with systems for renal cell carcinoma treatment. About 44% of the systems have already been employed in clinical practice, but only 20% in studies with ten or more patients. Main challenges remaining for future research include the consideration of organ movement and deformation, human factor issues, and the conduction of large clinical studies.

Conclusion: Augmented and virtual reality systems have the potential to improve safety and outcomes of renal interventions. In the last ten years, many technical advances have led to more sophisticated systems, which are already applied in clinical practice. Further research is required to cope with current limitations of virtual and augmented reality assistance in clinical environments.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Virtual Reality*