Construction of a three-dimensional interactive model of the skull base and cranial nerves.Neurosurgery. 2007 May; 60(5):901-10; discussion 901-10.N
The goal was to develop an interactive three-dimensional (3-D) computerized anatomic model of the skull base for teaching microneurosurgical anatomy and for operative planning.
The 3-D model was constructed using commercially available software (Maya 6.0 Unlimited; Alias Systems Corp., Delaware, MD), a personal computer, four cranial specimens, and six dry bones. Photographs from at least two angles of the superior and lateral views were imported to the 3-D software. Many photographs were needed to produce the model in anatomically complex areas. Careful dissection was needed to expose important structures in the two views. Landmarks, including foramen, bone, and dura mater, were used as reference points.
The 3-D model of the skull base and related structures was constructed using more than 300,000 remodeled polygons. The model can be viewed from any angle. It can be rotated 360 degrees in any plane using any structure as the focal point of rotation. The model can be reduced or enlarged using the zoom function. Variable transparencies could be assigned to any structures so that the structures at any level can be seen. Anatomic labels can be attached to the structures in the 3-D model for educational purposes.
This computer-generated 3-D model can be observed and studied repeatedly without the time limitations and stresses imposed by surgery. This model may offer the potential to create interactive surgical exercises useful in evaluating multiple surgical routes to specific target areas in the skull base.