A new process
has been developed that allows 3D scans of a patient's liver to
be made prior to a surgery. These 3D scans allow the surgeon to see
the actual anatomy of the patient's liver rather than hoping the
anatomy matches what was described by Couinaud in 1957. Couinaud's
description is the classical anatomy of the human liver. However, 3D
modeling has shown that as much as 50% of the human population has a
different liver anatomy than what the classical description would
lead a surgeon to believe.
Project Odysseus was developed to
form a 3D image of a person's liver and the vasculature of the liver
to allow surgeons to train before a surgery. The modeling also allows
the surgeon to see how the liver is segmented.
Soler of the Institut de Recherche pour les Cancers de l’Appareil
Digestif (IRCAD) said, "Thanks to the 3D modeling. The future of
liver surgery has gained more precision through accurate definition
of the liver’s blood vessels."
The project also
resulted in other technologies separate from the 3D imaging. The
project also developed a system that allowed the surgeons to get
input from other specialists in remote locations and a virtual
surgery tool that mimics the texture and resistance surgeons
encounter during surgery.
The software developed for the
project is Virtual patient modeling that enables a patient specific
pre-operative assessment and Virtual Planning software that allows
navigation and tool positioning to be done in 3D on any multimedia
computer. France Telecom also developed a communication system for
the project called Argonaute. This is the software that allows
doctors and specialists in several locations to advise on images at
the same time. The simulated surgery gear is called the unlimited
laparoscopic simulator (ULIS) and the robotic surgery simulator (SEP
Robot) is the part of the project that adds the physical properties
of texture and tissue resistance to the virtual surgery.
to Soler, "In the future this will reduce secondary tumours in
the liver, and it will reduce the segments we have to remove. In the
end it will save more patients."
The different products
that were developed during project Odysseus are creating new jobs
already according to the developers and once trials are complete and
production is underway even more jobs will be created. The technology
is expected to make a significant contribution to improved care and
treatment of cancer of the liver and its diagnosis.
said, "Everyone says it is vital to use this system, but we have
to wait five years after surgery to prove the benefit of the software
on survival rates. So it is too soon to see all the benefits yet."