Application of virtual and mixed reality for 3D visualization in intracranial aneurysm surgery planning: a systematic review

Elisa Colombo*, Bart Lutters, Tessa Kos, Tristan van Doormaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Precise preoperative anatomical visualization and understanding of an intracranial aneurysm (IA) are fundamental for surgical planning and increased intraoperative confidence. Application of virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR), thus three-dimensional (3D) visualization of IAs could be significant in surgical planning. Authors provide an up-to-date overview of VR and MR applied to IA surgery, with specific focus on tailoring of the surgical treatment. Methods: A systematic analysis of the literature was performed in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Pubmed, and Embase were searched to identify studies reporting use of MR and VR 3D visualization in IA surgery during the last 25 years. Type and number of IAs, category of input scan, visualization techniques (screen, glasses or head set), inclusion of haptic feedback, tested population (residents, fellows, attending neurosurgeons), and aim of the study (surgical planning/rehearsal, neurosurgical training, methodological validation) were noted. Results: Twenty-eight studies were included. Eighteen studies (64.3%) applied VR, and 10 (35.7%) used MR. A positive impact on surgical planning was documented by 19 studies (67.9%): 17 studies (60.7%) chose the tailoring of the surgical approach as primary outcome of the analysis. A more precise anatomical visualization and understanding with VR and MR was endorsed by all included studies (100%). Conclusion: Application of VR and MR to perioperative 3D visualization of IAs allowed an improved understanding of the patient-specific anatomy and surgical preparation. This review describes a tendency to utilize mostly VR-platforms, with the primary goals of a more accurate anatomical understanding, surgical planning and rehearsal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1227510
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in surgery
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023


  • 3D visualization
  • cerebrovascular surgery
  • intracranial aneurysms
  • mixed reality
  • virtual reality


Dive into the research topics of 'Application of virtual and mixed reality for 3D visualization in intracranial aneurysm surgery planning: a systematic review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this