Anatomic Review in 3D Augmented Reality Alters Craniotomy Planning Among Residents

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

World Neurosurg


OBJECTIVE: Objectively examine the effect of 3D-Augmented Reality anatomic review on craniotomy planning among neurosurgical residents as it pertains to craniotomy size, skull positioning, and knowledge of significant anatomic relationships.

METHODS: Postgraduate year 1-7 neurosurgery residents were instructed to review standard 2D radiographs, pin a skull, and tailor a craniotomy for 6 different lesions and case vignettes. Participants then reviewed the lesion in a 3D-augmented reality (AR) environment, followed by repeating the craniotomy station for a variety of lesion types and locations (superficial, subcortical, deep, skull base). Quiz with case-specific anatomic and surgical questions followed by an exit survey for qualitative impressions.

RESULTS: Eleven of thirteen eligible residents participated. Skull position significantly changed in 5 out of 6 cases after 3D-AR view (P < 0.05, 20° angular adjustment). No significant change in incision length or craniotomy size. Subgroup analysis of junior versus senior residents revealed that craniotomy size was significantly altered in 2 out of 6 cases. Qualitative testimonials (Likert scale 5 = strongly agree) reported a change in craniotomy approach after 3D-review (3.5), improved appreciation of anatomy (4.2), increased confidence in surgical approach (4.33 junior residents, 3.5 senior residents), smaller incision (3.5 junior residents, 1.75 senior residents), better appreciation of white matter tracts (4.6).

CONCLUSIONS: The augmented reality platform offers a medium to examine surgical planning skills. Residents uniformly appreciated 3D-AR as a valuable tool for improving appreciation of critical anatomic structures and their relationship to lesional pathology. 3D-AR review significantly altered skull positioning for various lesions and craniotomy approaches, particularly among junior residents.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Augmented Reality; Internship and Residency; Craniotomy; Neurosurgical Procedures; Neurosurgery

PubMed ID



ePub ahead of print



First Page


Last Page