Introduction: This study was designed to compare VR stereoscopical three-dimensional (3D) imaging with two-dimensional computed tomography angiography (CTA) images for evaluating the abdominal vascular anatomy before autologous breast reconstruction. Methods: This prospective case series feasibility study was conducted in two tertiary medical centers. Participants were women slated to undergo free transverse rectus abdominis muscle, unilateral or bilateral deep inferior epigastric perforator flap immediate breast reconstruction. Based on a routine CTA, a 3D VR model was generated. Before each procedure, the surgeons examined the CTA and then the VR model. Any new information provided by the VR imaging was submitted to a radiologist for confirmation before surgery. Following each procedure, the surgeons completed a questionnaire comparing the two methods. Results: Thirty women between 34 and 68 years of age were included in the study; except for one, all breast reconstructions were successful. The surgeons ranked VR higher than CTA in terms of better anatomical understanding and operative anatomical findings. In 72.4% of cases, VR models were rated having maximum similarity to reality, with no significant difference between the type of perforator anatomical course or complexity. In more than 70% of the cases, VR was considered to have contributed to determining the surgical approach. In four cases, VR imaging modified the surgical strategy, without any complications. Conclusions: VR imaging was well-accepted by the surgeons who commented on its importance and ease compared with the standard CTA presentation. Further studies are needed to determine whether VR should become an integral part of preoperative deep inferior epigastric perforator surgery planning.
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