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Original research
Novel patient-specific 3D-virtual reality visualisation software (SpectoVR) for the planning of spine surgery: a case series of eight patients
  1. Davide Marco Croci1,2,
  2. Raphael Guzman2,
  3. Cordula Netzer3,
  4. Luigi Mariani2,
  5. Stefan Schaeren3,
  6. Philippe C Cattin4,
  7. Gregory F Jost2
  1. 1 Neurosurgery, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Lugano, Switzerland
  2. 2 Neurosurgery, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  3. 3 Spine Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  4. 4 Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Davide Marco Croci, Neurosurgery, Neurocenter of Southern Switzerland, Lugano 6901, Switzerland; crocidav{at}


Background Complex spine surgery requires a sound three-dimensional (3D) understanding of anatomy.

Objective Here, we report the preoperative use a of novel software (SpectoVR) that presents DICOM data as virtual 3D holograms.

Methods The software SpectoVR uses patient-specific DICOM data to render the anatomy as a hologram that is then viewed with a virtual reality (VR) headset. The surgeons used SpectoVR to prepare for complex surgeries.

Results Eight patients with the following diagnosis were presurgically studied with SpectoVR: (1) ankylosing spondylitis with fixed kyphotic cervical deformity treated with osteotomy reduction and cervicothoracic reconstruction; (2) persistent cervical foraminal stenosis after total disc replacement; (3) atlantoaxial osteoarthritis treated with C1–2 Magerl fixation; (4) adjacent segment degeneration with foraminal stenosis L5–S1; (5) C2–C4 chordoma; (6) spinal cord injury with rotational thoracolumbar fracture; (7) complex lumbopelvic deformity after prior hemipelvectomy for sarcoma and (8) atlantoaxial osteoarthritis and basilar impression in a patient with congenital craniosynostosis. Whereas VR did not omit the need for viewing the spine in the multiplane reconstruction mode, the authors feel that SpectoVR contributed to a better holistic understanding of the anatomy. Furthermore, positioning the spine like in the OR empowered the mental preparation for the surgery.

Conclusion Integrating SpectoVR in daily presurgical planning is feasible and appears to enhance the surgeon’s awareness of the case.

  • musculoskeletal
  • neurology
  • inventions
  • diagnostics
  • assistive technology

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  • Contributors Conception and design: DMC, GFJ and RG; Software development: PCC; Drafting the Article: DMC and GFJ; Surgical procedures: GFJ, CN and SS; Critically revising the article: DMC, GFJ, SS, CN, PCC, LM and RG; Administrative support: RG, LM, SS and PCC.

  • Funding The current project has been financially supported by a grant from the 'Schweizerische Akademie der Medizinischen Wissenschaften (SAMW) -Young Clinical Talents in Clinical Research Grant. The project has been funded by a grant from the “Nora van Meeuwen-Haefliger Stiftung'. PCC is a founder of

  • Competing interests PCC is a founder of

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol was approved by the local ethics committee (Ethikkomission Nordwest- und Zentralschweiz (EKNZ), Basel, Switzerland).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. All patient related data were anonymised.