According to the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), a group of surgeons at Heidelberg University Hospitals have used for the first time a novel software to plan and perform a pancreatic resection:
Computational molecular biologists of the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) have developed a computer program which has now been applied for the first time by surgeons of Heidelberg University Hospitals in the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients. Computational and medical scientists expect that computer-assisted surgery planning will provide physicians with better orientation during surgery and thus enable them to remove tumors more safely for the patient.
The new software has been developed by scientists of the Division of Medical and Biological Informatics headed by Professor Hans-Peter Meinzer in collaboration with DKFZ radiologists. The computer program transforms two-dimensional CT or MRT data into a three-dimensional reconstruction. Thus, it generates an image that can be turned in all directions and illustrates organs and tumors in spatial relationship to neighboring structures.
In cases of pancreatic cancer it is particularly important to have detailed knowledge of the anatomic conditions around the tumor, since various organs and important blood vessels are located in the direct vicinity. Therefore, prior to surgical removal, surgeons need to know exactly whether the tumor is restricted to the pancreas or has already grown into surrounding tissue. The three-dimensional image provides physicians with an exact spatial vision of the tumor’s position and size. Radiologists can use these images to generate more precise diagnostic findings. Surgeons can use this technology preoperatively to obtain precise information about the individual anatomy of their patients. During surgery, the virtual image helps surgeons in orientation.