Surgical navigation systems generally require intraoperative steps, such as intraoperative imaging and registration, to link the system to the patient anatomy. Because this hampers surgical workflow, we developed a plug-and-play wireless navigation system that does not require any intraoperative steps. In this ex vivo study on human hepatectomy specimens, the feasibility was assessed of using this navigation system to accurately resect a planned volume with small margins to the lesion.
For ten hepatectomy specimens, a planning CT was acquired in which a virtual spherical lesion with 5 mm margin was delineated, inside the healthy parenchyma. Using two implanted trackers, the real-time position of this planned resection volume was visualized on a screen, relative to the used tracked pointer. Experienced liver surgeons were asked to accurately resect the nonpalpable planned volume, fully relying on the navigation screen. Resected and planned volumes were compared using CT.
This ex vivo liver study showed that it is feasible to accurately resect virtual hepatic lesions with small planned margins using our novel navigation system, which is promising for clinical applications where nonpalpable hepatic metastases have to be resected with small resection margins.
The surgeons resected the planned volume while cutting along its border with a mean accuracy of - 0.1 ± 2.4 mm and resected 98 ± 12% of the planned volume. Nine out of ten resections were radical and one case showed a cut of 0.8 mm into the lesion. The sessions took approximately 10 min each, and no considerable technical issues were encountered.