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Wendell Gibby, Steve Cvetko, Andrew Gibby, Conrad Gibby, Kiel Sorensen, Edward G. Andrews, Joseph Maroon, and Ryan Parr


The objective of this study is to quantify the navigational accuracy of an advanced augmented reality (AR)–based guidance system for neurological surgery, biopsy, and/or other minimally invasive neurological surgical procedures.


Five burr holes were drilled through a plastic cranium, and 5 optical fiducials (AprilTags) printed with CT-visible ink were placed on the frontal, temporal, and parietal bones of a human skull model. Three 0.5-mm-diameter targets were mounted in the interior of the skull on nylon posts near the level of the tentorium cerebelli and the pituitary fossa. The skull was filled with ballistic gelatin to simulate brain tissue. A CT scan was taken and virtual needle tracts were annotated on the preoperative 3D workstation for the combination of 3 targets and 5 access holes (15 target tracts). The resulting annotated study was uploaded to and launched by VisAR software operating on the HoloLens 2 holographic visor by viewing an encrypted, printed QR code assigned to the study by the preoperative workstation. The DICOM images were converted to 3D holograms and registered to the skull by alignment of the holographic fiducials with the AprilTags attached to the skull. Five volunteers, familiar with the VisAR, used the software/visor combination to navigate an 18-gauge needle/trocar through the series of burr holes to the target, resulting in 70 data points (15 for 4 users and 10 for 1 user). After each attempt the needle was left in the skull, supported by the ballistic gelatin, and a high-resolution CT was taken. Radial error and angle of error were determined using vector coordinates. Summary statistics were calculated individually and collectively.


The combined angle of error of was 2.30° ± 1.28°. The mean radial error for users was 3.62 ± 1.71 mm. The mean target depth was 85.41 mm.


The mean radial error and angle of error with the associated variance measures demonstrates that VisAR navigation may have utility for guiding a small needle to neural lesions, or targets within an accuracy of 3.62 mm. These values are sufficiently accurate for the navigation of many neurological procedures such as ventriculostomy.