Use of a three-dimensional virtual reality model for preoperative imaging in DIEP flap breast reconstruction.J Surg Res. 2010 Jul; 162(1):140-7.JS
The significant variation in the vascular anatomy of the abdominal wall makes preoperative imaging essential when raising a deep inferior epigastric artery perforator (DIEP) flap due to the potential for maximizing operative success, reducing intraoperative error and minimizing operative complications. Computerized models and virtual reality applications are being used to facilitate teaching and preoperative evaluation in a number of other complex anatomical regions. The variability in perforator anatomy makes DIEP flap surgery a suitable candidate for application of such technology. In this context, a study was undertaken to determine the feasibility of computed tomography angiography (CTA)-guided VirSSPA three-dimensional (3D) software for virtual reality navigation in DIEP flap surgery and to compare findings with operative measurements.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
We recruited 12 consecutive patients planned for an elective DIEP flap for breast reconstruction. Each patient underwent preoperative imaging of the anterior abdominal wall vasculature with both conventional CTA and VirSSPA 3D reconstruction. Imaging findings were compared with operative findings.
In all cases, the major perforators were accurately localized using both methods. 3D reconstruction of the abdominal wall with VirSSPA demonstrated a significant good correlation with perforator location compared with operative findings, showing an average error rate of 0.23cm (95% CI, 0.17-0.30).
In short, the main advantage of VirSSPA, when used in conjunction with an image assessment such as CTA, is to provide additional and potentially more accurate data over conventional CTA with regard to the site of the best perforators and its course through the muscle.