Augmented reality navigation for cranial biopsy and external ventricular drain insertion

Simon Skyrman*, Marco Lai, Erik Edström, Gustav Burström, Petter Förander, Robert Homan, Flip Kor, Ronald Holthuizen, Benno H.W. Hendriks, Oscar Persson, Adrian Elmi-Terander

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy (deviation from the target or intended path) and efficacy (insertion time) of an augmented reality surgical navigation (ARSN) system for insertion of biopsy needles and external ventricular drains (EVDs), two common neurosurgical procedures that require high precision. METHODS The hybrid operating room-based ARSN system, comprising a robotic C-arm with intraoperative conebeam CT (CBCT) and integrated video tracking of the patient and instruments using nonobtrusive adhesive optical markers, was used. A 3D-printed skull phantom with a realistic gelatinous brain model containing air-filled ventricles and 2-mm spherical biopsy targets was obtained. After initial CBCT acquisition for target registration and planning, ARSN was used for 30 cranial biopsies and 10 EVD insertions. Needle positions were verified by CBCT. RESULTS The mean accuracy of the biopsy needle insertions (n = 30) was 0.8 mm ± 0.43 mm. The median path length was 39 mm (range 16-104 mm) and did not correlate to accuracy (p = 0.15). The median device insertion time was 149 seconds (range 87-233 seconds). The mean accuracy for the EVD insertions (n = 10) was 2.9 mm ± 0.8 mm at the tip with a 0.7° ± 0.5° angular deviation compared with the planned path, and the median insertion time was 188 seconds (range 135-400 seconds). CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrated that ARSN can be used for navigation of percutaneous cranial biopsies and EVDs with high accuracy and efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE7
Number of pages7
JournalNeurosurgical Focus
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • augmented reality
  • brain biopsy
  • external ventricular drainage
  • image-guided surgery
  • neurosurgery
  • surgical navigation


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