The field of neurosurgery is constantly undergoing improvements and advances, both in technique and technology. Cerebrovascular neurosurgery is no exception, with endovascular treatments changing the treatment paradigm. Clipping of aneurysms is still necessary, however, and advances are still being made to improve patient outcomes within the microsurgical treatment of aneurysms. Surgical rehearsal platforms are surgical simulators that offer the opportunity to rehearse a procedure prior to entering the operative suite. This study is designed to determine whether use of a surgical rehearsal platform in aneurysm surgery is helpful in decreasing aneurysm dissection time and clip manipulation of the aneurysm.
The authors conducted a blinded, prospective, randomized study comparing key effort and time variables in aneurysm clip ligation surgery with and without preoperative use of the SuRgical Planner (SRP) surgical rehearsal platform. Initially, 40 patients were randomly assigned to either of two groups: one in which surgery was performed after use of the SRP (SRP group) and one in which surgery was performed without use of the SRP (control group). All operations were videotaped. After exclusion of 6 patients from the SRP group and 9 from the control group, a total of 25 surgical cases were analyzed by a reviewer blinded to group assignment. The videos were analyzed for total microsurgical time, number of clips used, and number of clip placement attempts. Means and standard deviations (SDs) were calculated and compared between groups.
The mean (± SD) amount of operative time per clip used was 920 ± 770 seconds in the SRP group and 1294 ± 678 seconds in the control group (p = 0.05). In addition, the mean values for the number of clip attempts, total operative time, ratio of clip attempts to clips used, and time per clip attempt were all lower in the SRP group, although the between-group differences were not statistically significant.
Preoperative rehearsal with SRP increased efficiency and safety in aneurysm microsurgery as demonstrated by the statistically significant improvement in time per clip used. Although the rest of the outcomes did not demonstrate statistically significant between-group differences, the fact that the SRP group showed improvement in mean values for all measures studied suggests that preoperative rehearsal may increase the efficiency and safety of aneurysm microsurgery. Future studies aimed at improving patient outcome and safety during surgical clipping of aneurysms will be needed to keep pace with the quickly advancing endovascular field.