Share your views on the use of virtual 3D models for planning robotic surgery

Scientists at Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust are working to generate virtual 3D models of a patient's CT or MRI scan to enhance understanding of a patient’s unique anatomy. The team want to work with patients to develop understanding of the acceptance of robotic surgery and how best 3D models can be used to help educate patients.

Opportunity deadline: 1st November 2016 (for initial conversation)

Opportunity start date: 1st December 2016

Location: London

About the opportunity

The technologies available to surgeons to perform operations are outstanding, however the same cannot be said for the tools available at the treatment and operation planning stages. The objective of this project is to create a virtual 3D model of the patient’s body to be used as surgical planning tool.

Robot-assisted surgery is a rapidly developing field and robots are now used in most surgical specialties. The biggest limitation of robot-assisted surgery is the lack of tactile feedback i.e. pressure sensations on one’s finger-tips. Instead, the surgeon currently relies solely on distorted and real-time images, seen via a tiny camera within the body, to guide the operation.

In this project, it is proposed to complement this real-time camera feed with computer generated 3D models of the patient anatomy. This 3D model will provide a detailed roadmap for the surgeon to devise the optimal treatment and surgical plan. The 3D model generation relies on the extraction of the patient’s anatomical structures such as bones, organs and vessels from standard-of-care CT and MRI scans. Surface representations of these structures allow the surgeon to view the patient anatomy in 3D prior to the operation, with the aim of enhancing the surgeon’s understanding of that patient’s unique anatomy, increasing patient involvement and knowledge of the procedure, and minimising the chances of a surgical complication.

How can you get involved?

The Robotic surgery research team at the Royal Free Hospital are looking for patients who have undergone or are about to undergo cancer surgery on the kidney to share their views on this project. In particular, we’d like to hear their opinions on the ethical issues surrounding the creation of 3D models from patient scans and how acceptable robotic surgery is felt to be by patients.  We also want to hear views on how best to use the models to help patients understand their disease and the potential risks and benefits of different treatment options.  

Initially, we’d like to talk with some patients over the phone to help us develop our plan for patient involvement in the project by Tuesday 1st November.

Patients would then take part in 4 focus groups which will be held at the Royal Free hospital in London over the 3 years of the project.

How to apply

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