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Daniel M. Bruening, Peter Truckenmueller, Christian Stein, Josch Fuellhase, Peter Vajkoczy, Thomas Picht, and Gueliz Acker

OBJECTIVE

Training of residents is an essential but time-consuming and costly task in the surgical disciplines. During the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, surgical education became even more challenging because of the reduced caseload due to the increased shift to corona care. In this context, augmented 360° 3D virtual reality (VR) videos of surgical procedures enable effective off-site training through virtual participation in the surgery. The goal of this study was to establish and evaluate 360° 3D VR operative videos for neurosurgical training.

METHODS

Using a 360° camera, the authors recorded three standard neurosurgical procedures: a lumbar discectomy, brain metastasis resection, and clipping of an aneurysm. Combined with the stereoscopic view of the surgical microscope, 7- to 10-minute 360° 3D VR videos augmented with annotations, overlays, and commentary were created. These videos were then presented to the neurosurgical residents at the authors’ institution using a head-mounted display. Before viewing the videos, the residents were asked to fill out a questionnaire indicating their VR experience and self-assessment of surgical skills regarding the specific procedure. After watching the videos, the residents completed another questionnaire to evaluate their quality and usefulness. The parameters were scaled with a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS

Twenty-two residents participated in this study. The mean years of experience of the participants in neurosurgery was 3.2 years, ranging from the 1st through the 7th year of training. Most participants (86.4%) had no or less than 15 minutes of VR experience. The overall quality of the videos was rated good to very good. Immersion, the feeling of being in the operating room, was high, and almost all participants (91%) stated that 360° VR videos provide a useful addition to the neurosurgical training. VR sickness was negligible in the cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors demonstrated the feasibility and high acceptance of augmented 360° 3D VR videos in neurosurgical training. Augmentation of 360° videos with complementary and interactive content has the potential to effectively support trainees in acquiring conceptual knowledge. Further studies are necessary to investigate the effectiveness of their use in improving surgical skills.

Free access

Gueliz Acker, Davide Giampiccolo, Kerstin Rubarth, Robert Mertens, Anna Zdunczyk, Juliane Hardt, Daniel Jussen, Heike Schneider, Tizian Rosenstock, Vera Mueller, Thomas Picht, and Peter Vajkoczy

OBJECTIVE

Motor cortical dysfunction has been shown to be reversible in patients with unilateral atherosclerotic disease after cerebral revascularization. Moyamoya vasculopathy (MMV) is a rare bilateral stenoocclusive cerebrovascular disease. The aim of this study was to analyze the corticospinal excitability and the role of bypass surgery in restoring cortical motor function in patients by using navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS).

METHODS

Patients with bilateral MMV who met the criteria for cerebral revascularization were prospectively included. Corticospinal excitability, cortical representation area, and intracortical inhibition and facilitation were assessed by nTMS for a small hand muscle (first dorsal interosseous) before and after revascularization. The clinically and/or hemodynamically more severely affected hemisphere was operated first as the leading hemisphere. Intra- and interhemispheric differences were analyzed before and after direct or combined revascularization.

RESULTS

A total of 30 patients with bilateral MMV were examined by nTMS prior to and after revascularization surgery. The corticospinal excitability was higher in the leading hemisphere compared with the non-leading hemisphere prior to revascularization. This hyperexcitability was normalized after revascularization as demonstrated in the resting motor threshold ratio of the hemispheres (preoperative median 0.97 [IQR 0.89–1.08], postoperative median 1.02 [IQR 0.94–1.22]; relative effect = 0.61, p = 0.03). In paired-pulse paradigms, a tendency for a weaker inhibition of the leading hemisphere was observed compared with the non-leading hemisphere. Importantly, the paired paradigm also demonstrated approximation of excitability patterns between the two hemispheres after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The study results suggested that, in the case of a bilateral chronic ischemia, a compensation mechanism between both hemispheres seemed to exist that normalized after revascularization surgery. A potential role of nTMS in predicting the efficacy of revascularization must be further assessed.