The need for suitable training methods for aspiring neurosurgeons is getting bigger and bigger. The increasing popularity of the endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms leads to a lack of simple surgical situations for clipping operations. Often only the complex aneurysms remain which represent a challenge even for experienced surgeons and are therefore not suitable for training purposes.
For this reason, a research cooperation between the Department of Neurosurgery and Radiology at the State Psychiatric Hospital Wagner-Jauregg Linz, the central Radiology Institute of the General Hospital Linz, Aesculap AG and RISC Software GmbH was conducted from 2013 to 2015. The project was funded by the FFG BRIDGE program (# 838519). The researchers of RISC Software GmbH have developed a realistic simulation model for blood flow through intracranial aneurysms in the course of the MEDVIS 3D project (FFG MODSIM program). Based on this model, the goal of the research team is the coupling with haptic input devices and the creation of appropriate scenarios for the training of neurosurgeons.
The algorithms developed for this simulator use advanced GPU technology to calculate the deformation and the feedback force of the vessel walls in real time.
Once a collision detection algorithm finds a contact between a virtual tool (forceps, clip, suction tube) and the blood vessel, the deformation of the vessel walls is calculated and visualized by means of a finite element method. A haptic feedback with Sensable Phantom devices provides a realistic tactile perception. The simulation includes the deposition and removal of clips that can be selected from a number of different clip geometries. Postoperatively, the training can be evaluated according to various criteria (including residual blood flow to the aneurysm).
In close collaboration with the neurosurgeons of the Wagner-Jauregg the project team has already developed a prototype of the simulator by July 2015 which already includes include surgical craniotomy planning, attachment of surgical clip applier to the haptic input device, as well as support of stereoscopic 3D displays.
The project team hopes that the close cooperation between research and medical practice will result in a realistic simulator, applicable to both training and surgical planning. Due to the use of current consumer technology, an affordable price of simulator components can be achieved.
RISC Software and OSSIM Technologies signed a bilateral sales cooperation for global commercialization of the “Virtual Aneurysm” simulator. A first version is planned to be available by the end of 2017.
If you are interested, the current simulator prototype can be tested at any time. We would be grateful to visit you onsite for a live demonstration. For more information about the research project please contact the project manager Johannes Dirnberger.
The research project Virtual Aneurysm was awarded with the “OÖ Landesinnovationspreis für radikale Innovationen 2016” from Business Upper Austrian.