Preoperative planning of thoracic surgery with use of three-dimensional reconstruction, rapid prototyping, simulation and virtual navigation
For the past decades, surgeries have become more complex, due to the increasing age of the patient population referred for thoracic surgery, more complex pathology and the emergence of minimally invasive thoracic surgery. Together with the early detection of thoracic disease as a result of innovations in diagnostic possibilities and the paradigm shift to personalized medicine, preoperative planning is becoming an indispensable and crucial aspect of surgery. Several new techniques facilitating this paradigm shift have emerged. Pre-operative marking and staining of lesions are already a widely accepted method of preoperative planning in thoracic surgery. However, three-dimensional (3D) image reconstructions, virtual simulation and rapid prototyping (RP) are still in development phase. These new techniques are expected to become an important part of the standard work-up of patients undergoing thoracic surgery in the future. This review aims at graphically presenting and summarizing these new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.