Fraunhofer MEVIS Liver Explorer App at the Apple Science Event

Liver Explorer Surgery Application Yokohama City University Hospital
© Junko Kimura/Fraunhofer

The Liver Explorer App, developed by Fraunhofer MEVIS, was presented at the Apple Special Event on October 22, 2013. The app has been optimized in close cooperation with Yokohama City University Hospital in Japan and is being clinically evaluated by surgeon Prof. Itaru Endo and his team.

Doctors are supported in more than just optimally transferring a planned resection; they can also adjust these plans quickly and flexibly in the operating room when needed.

Whereas planning software helps analyze risks and determine the optimal resection strategy, the mobile device aligns the planned resection to the surgical incision into the patient’s liver in the operating room. In addition to providing the surgical plan as a three-dimensional model, virtual and real organ can be overlaid: The liver is filmed with the tablet computer and, using augmented reality, virtual planning data can be superimposed onto the organ in real-time. In this fashion, a surgeon can immediately compare the liver anatomy shown on the computer model with the actual organ during an intervention. This affords fast quality checks with relatively little effort.

Further software functions include vessel length measurements and interactive identification of partial liver volumes, which become necessary, for example, following intraoperative detection of additional tumors that must be removed. Another tool permits ‘erasing’ virtual vessels with finger gestures after their resection to expose underlying structures. With these tools, doctors can easily transfer surgical resections that were planned in advance or adapt them during the intervention.

The app, under evaluation during a clinical study in Yokohama, was used by Prof. Oldhafer for the first time in Germany at the Asklepios Klinik in Hamburg-Barmbek in August 2013. Future expansion into other surgical fields and medical applications is planned.