Virtual Reality Model of the Three-Dimensional Anatomy of the Cavernous Sinus Based on a Cadaveric Image and Dissection

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Abstract

Objective:

Studying the three-dimensional (3D) anatomy of the cavernous sinus is essential for treating lesions in this region with skull base surgeries. Cadaver dissection is a conventional method that has insurmountable flaws with regard to understanding spatial anatomy. The authors’ research aimed to build an image model of the cavernous sinus region in a virtual reality system to precisely, individually and objectively elucidate the complete and local stereo-anatomy.

Methods:

Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed on 5 adult cadaver heads. Latex mixed with contrast agent was injected into the arterial system and then into the venous system. Computed tomography scans were performed again following the 2 injections. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were performed again after the cranial nerves were exposed. Image data were input into a virtual reality system to establish a model of the cavernous sinus. Observation results of the image models were compared with those of the cadaver heads.

Results:

Visualization of the cavernous sinus region models built using the virtual reality system was good for all the cadavers. High resolutions were achieved for the images of different tissues. The observed results were consistent with those of the cadaver head. The spatial architecture and modality of the cavernous sinus were clearly displayed in the 3D model by rotating the model and conveniently changing its transparency.

Conclusion:

A 3D virtual reality model of the cavernous sinus region is helpful for globally and objectively understanding anatomy. The observation procedure was accurate, convenient, noninvasive, and time and specimen saving.

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