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12 August 2021

NIHR i4i grant awarded for multi-centre randomised controlled trial into 3D surgical planning tool for kidney surgeries

The software allows surgeons to clearly visualise the patient anatomy and can reduce complications from surgery


Researchers from the Innersight Labs, part of the London Medical Imaging & AI Centre for Value Based Healthcare, have been awarded an i4i Challenge Award by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for breakthrough surgery planning software that creates interactive 3D anatomical models to be used for complex kidney cancer tumours.

Currently only data from CT images is used to plan operations, requiring surgeons to reconstruct the patients’ anatomy, obviously 3D, based on 2D scan slices.

The new models generated by the software help surgeons to gain a complete picture of the patient’s anatomy before surgery and allows them to perform safer, high-precision procedures with reduced risk of complications.

This software has the potential to reduce operation time for patients and reduces complications from surgery. With this software more patients will be eligible for organ-sparing surgery, instead of being faced with the prospect of total kidney removal as it is now for larger complex tumours.

Principal Investigator Dr Lorenz Berger co-founder of Innersight Labs

The researchers said the software streamlines the 3D model building process including several steps of automation which they hope will reduce the cost of the 3D models to be used in standard clinical practice.

3D models from Innersight of kidney cancers have allowed us to carry out very complex partial nephrectomies. It has enabled our patients to be better informed of the surgical procedure. The current NIHR randomised controlled trial will be the largest study in Europe to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of interactive virtual 3D models in surgical planning of partial nephrectomy.

Mr Faiz Mumtaz, Consultant Urological Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital

The NIHR funding will allow the researchers to demonstrate how the system can be implemented within an everyday clinical workflow. The researchers say clinicians will only need very limited training to use the software, and will require minimal imaging IT infrastructure.

The project is one of several areas of work led by the AI Centre that demonstrate how AI can be used to improve clinical pathways and deliver value for the NHS.

Learn more about the technology, and fill out a short survey about 3D models and kidney cancer.