Virtual Reality in Neurointervention

J Vasc Interv Neurol. 2018 Jun;10(1):17-22.


Objectives: Virtual reality (VR) allows users to experience realistic, immersive 3D virtual environments with the depth perception and binocular field of view of real 3D settings. Newer VR technology has now allowed for interaction with 3D objects within these virtual environments through the use of VR controllers. This technical note describes our preliminary experience with VR as an adjunct tool to traditional angiographic imaging in the preprocedural workup of a patient with a complex pseudoaneurysm.

Methods: Angiographic MRI data was imported and segmented to create 3D meshes of bilateral carotid vasculature. The 3D meshes were then projected into VR space, allowing the operator to inspect the carotid vasculature using a 3D VR headset as well as interact with the pseudoaneurysm (handling, rotation, magnification, and sectioning) using two VR controllers.

Results: 3D segmentation of a complex pseudoaneurysm in the distal cervical segment of the right internal carotid artery was successfully performed and projected into VR. Conventional and VR visualization modes were equally effective in identifying and classifying the pathology. VR visualization allowed the operators to manipulate the dataset to achieve a greater understanding of the anatomy of the parent vessel, the angioarchitecture of the pseudoaneurysm, and the surface contours of all visualized structures.

Conclusion: This preliminary study demonstrates the feasibility of utilizing VR for preprocedural evaluation in patients with anatomically complex neurovascular disorders. This novel visualization approach may serve as a valuable adjunct tool in deciding patient-specific treatment plans and selection of devices prior to intervention.

Keywords: Virtual reality; carotid pseudoaneurysm; interventional neuroradiology; neurointervention.