Training for planning tumour resection: Augmented reality and human factors
IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
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© 1964-2012 IEEE. Planning surgical interventions is a complex task, demanding a high degree of perceptual, cognitive, and sensorimotor skills to reduce intra- and post-operative complications. This process requires spatial reasoning to coordinate between the preoperatively acquired medical images and patient reference frames. In the case of neurosurgical interventions, traditional approaches to planning tend to focus on providing a means for visualizing medical images, but rarely support transformation between different spatial reference frames. Thus, surgeons often rely on their previous experience and intuition as their sole guide is to perform mental transformation. In case of junior residents, this may lead to longer operation times or increased chance of error under additional cognitive demands. In this paper, we introduce a mixed augmented-/virtual-reality system to facilitate training for planning a common neurosurgical procedure, brain tumour resection. The proposed system is designed and evaluated with human factors explicitly in mind, alleviating the difficulty of mental transformation. Our results indicate that, compared to conventional planning environments, the proposed system greatly improves the nonclinicians' performance, independent of the sensorimotor tasks performed (p < 0.01). Furthermore, the use of the proposed system by clinicians resulted in a significant reduction in time to perform clinically relevant tasks (p < 0.05). These results demonstrate the role of mixed-reality systems in assisting residents to develop necessary spatial reasoning skills needed for planning brain tumour resection, improving patient outcomes.